A field of 10 promising juveniles will head to the starting gate in the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) on Saturday, with a big pay day and Derby points up for grabs.
The Jackpot is the sixth race this year on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, with 10-4-2-1 points going to the top four finishers of the race.
Last year’s Jackpot winner was Exaggerator, who went on to run second in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and then won the Preakness Stakes (G1).
The Jackpot is one of eight stakes races on the rich card, with $2.3 million in purses at stake. Among the supporting-features are the $400,000 Delta Downs Princess (G3) and the $250,000 Delta Mile.
The Antonio Sano trained Gunnevera is the 5-2 morning line favorite for the Jackpot. The colt was fifth in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland in his last outing. He won the Saratoga Special (G2) this summer in his first start after breaking his maiden.
Hot Sean, a recent winner against first level allowance company is the second choice at 7-2 on the morning line. He is sent in from Southern California by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who has not won the race.
Line Judge (6-1) won the local prep, the Jean Lafitte and Our Stormin Norman (8-1) is worth a look off a good looking score at Keeneland.
The Delta Downs Jackpot is the seventh race on the 11-race card with a post time of 4:45 CT.
Let’s head out to Delta Downs for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Delta Downs Race 7 The Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) Post time 4:45 CT
4 Our Stormin Norman 8-1
6 Gunnevera 5-2
8 Hot Sean 7-2
10 Tip Tap Tapizar 10-1
Our Stormin Norman took the field gate to wire to break his maiden last out at Keeneland in his fifth career start. Just one runner has come out of that race to run back, fifth place finisher Creative Courage ran second beaten a neck at Churchill Downs in his next outing. The colt showed some promise with a runner up finish in his debut on dirt at Churchill Downs, but then his trainer Mark Casse tried him on turf in his next three starts, a third at the Spa his best finish.
The switch back to dirt has suited him and the $250,000 purchase is bred to be pretty good on dirt. He is by Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Blame out of the stakes winner Stroll By ($42,340) who was a dirt sprinter. The colt owns the top last out speed fig and gets a class test here he may be up to.
Gunnevera is the lone graded stakes winner in the field, taking the Saratoga Special (G2) in August. The colt returned in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland for his first go around two turns, was off last and was not much of a threat in a fifth-place finish, beaten 6 ¾ lengths for the top spot.
The winner Classic Empire came back to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) in his next outing at Santa Anita. He reunites with Castellano who was aboard for his win two back. He is the logical one to beat but his price may end up on the light side.
Hot Sean ships in for the west coast for the Bob Baffert barn. The colt broke his maiden in his second career start at 6 ½ furlongs and he beat Alw-1 foes last out of the stretch out to a mile. The early fractions in his win last out where slow but the rack was playing slow that day. The colt was a $550,000 Keeneland purchase and a half to a couple of stakes winners, top earner Itsaknockout ($398,010).
WIN: Our Stormin Norman to win at 9-2 or better.
EXACTA: 4,6 / 4,6,8,10
TRIFECTA: 4,6 / 4,6,8,10 / 2,4,6,8,10