Win a million dollar race, and they just end up wanting more. In 2013, Goldencents has given them just that. The flashy winner of last year’s Delta Downs Jackpot, the son of Into Mischief has enjoyed an excellent three-year-old season that includes victories in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. In so doing, Goldencents joined Big Drama as the two biggest success stories in the first ten years of the signature event at the Vinton, Louisiana oval. On Saturday, Coastline, Rise Up, and Casiguapo headline a full field of ten two-year-olds looking not only win the rich race, but also to follow in the impressive footsteps of Goldencents.
As the #2 horse on my initial Down and Derby Sweet 16, it should come as no surprise that Coastline will be my selection in the Jackpot. The winner of two-of-three, the son of Speightstown is already tested against good horses in Kentucky, and is coming off a big effort when easily accounting for the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs last time. The Mark Casse trained grey will attempt to make his trainer the first two-time winning trainer of the 1-1/16 mile race, having saddled Turf War to a dead heat victory with Z Humor in 2007. Shaun Bridgmohan will have the ride on Coastline, who will break from the two-hole, and has been assigned the 5-2 morning line choice.
Tom Amoss will saddle the morning line second choice, Rise Up. The winner of three-of-five, the son of Rockport Harbor enters the race as the romping winner of the local prep. He scored in the $200,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes by 6 ½ lengths at Delta Downs on October 26. Gerard Melancon will ride, and the pair will break from the 10-post. Rise Up is looking to become the first juvenile to pull off the Delta Downs Double since Rule in 2009.
At 4-1, Casiguapo is the morning line third choice, and comes in off consecutive grade 1 tries in New York. The son of Sightseeing finished second in the Hopeful at Saratoga, before a fourth place result in the Champagne at Belmont Park.
Whoever wins this year’s Delta Downs Jackpot will not only take home the sizable $600,000 winner’s share, but also 10 points toward a possible starting position in next year’s Kentucky Derby by way of the ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ series. Since 2002, a total of nine horses have participated in the $1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot before going on to compete in the Kentucky Derby the following spring. Last year the race produced a record three Derby starters including Goldencents, Mylute and Itsmyluckyday.