Kentucky Derby Hopefuls Looking to Hit Jackpot at Delta Downs

A full field led by Mr. Z head to the gate in Saturday's $1 million Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs. (Photo credit: Delta Downs).

A full field will head to the gate in Saturday’s $1 million Delta Jackpot (G3), with 17 points up for the grabs in the Road to the Derby series, 10 points to the winner along with a $600,000 payday.

The D. Wayne Lukas trained Mr. Z is the 5-2 morning line favorite, last seen running fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 1. The colt has won just once in six career starts but has placed in three graded stakes.

Golden Actor is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line and won the local prep, taking the Jean Lafitte on Oct. 25 by 4 ¼ lengths. The colt is the only runner in the field that has a start over the surface.

Mark Casse, who saddled 2007 winner Turf War (in a deadheat with Z Humor), will send out Conquest Tsunami this year. In his last start, the colt won the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs, his fifth win in six career starts.

There are seven stakes on the card, which gets underway at 1:15 CT. The co-feature is the $400,000 Delta Princess (G3) for two-year-old fillies.

The 2-1 morning line favorite for the race is Take Charge Brandi, who was the upset winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), where she wired the field at 61-1. The filly had lost her three previous starts by a combined 36 lengths.

Going from 61-1 to 2-1 may send us looking for another filly that may offer more value. Vivian Da Bling won the local prep, the My Trusty Cat. Trained by Bret Calhoun, the filly took the field gate to wire and won by eight lengths.

Saturday’s Best Plays Report will include several of the stakes from Delta Downs as well as my strongest plays from Aqueduct.

Let’s head out to Delta Downs for Saturday’s featured race of the day:


Delta Downs Race 7 The $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) Post time 4:14 CT

9 Far Right   10-1

3 Mr. Z   5-2

4 Conquest Tsunami   4-1

1 Prime Engine   8-1

Far Right goes two turns for the first time here after stalking the early pace and making a mild late run to finish third in the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs going a one-turn mile. The winner Conquest Tsunami was able to control things up front in his gate to wire score. Two back our top pick ran fourth in the Futurity (G2) at Belmont Park going six furlongs. In his first go against winners. The winner of the race was Blofeld, who returned to win the Nashua (G2) in his next outing on Nov. 2 while the third place finisher Cinco Charlie came back to win the Lewis III at Laurel Park on Nov. 15. The colt should get a good tracking trip from mid pack and may end up getting overlooked in the betting.

Mr. Z prompted a sharp early pace in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) while four wide and in between foes, was bumped in upper stretch and weakened to finish fifth at 19-1. This guy has landed in the bottom half of the exacta in three graded stakes- the Sanford (G3) and Saratoga Special (G2) at the Spa and the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland. The Lukas trainee owns the top last out speed fig but the main knock is going to be his short price.

Conquest Tsunami bounced back from his first loss when he was sixth in the Breeders’ Futurity by winning the Street Sense at Churchill Downs in gate to wire fashion. He has won poly, turf and conventional dirt and has won five of his six career starts. The colt has done his best running on the front and it looks as if there are several in here quick early so the trip is going to be key for this colt, a $150,000 Keeneland purchase out of the stakes winner Classic Neel ($139,645).

Prime Engine beat up on foes in his two starts at Emerald Downs, winning by a combined 15 ¾ lengths in his two starts. The colt gets transferred to the Jerry Hollendorfer barn who is 30% winners with newcomers to the barn. His last out speed fig decreased on the stretch out to a route but he won with ease and looks capable of moving forward off that effort. He faces much tougher but may be up to it and Russell Baze is in to ride.


WIN: Far Right to win at 5-1 or better.

EXACTA: 3,9 / 1,3,4,9

TRIFECTA: 3,9 / 1,3,4,9 / 1,3,4,9,10


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