the prize of the 2-yr-old season has been awarded to Shanghai Bobby the year is
not over yet and there are more Kentucky Derby qualification points to be
earned. The post Breeders’ Cup Stakes races kick off this weekend with the
Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes, the first of four remaining races on the 2012
Stakes – Aqueduct 11/24
Jockey Club – Churchill Downs 11/24
Futurity – Hollywood Park 12/15
Though we still
have a long way to go the Jackpot Stakes does feature horses that should get our
attention. Wherever small points are earned eventually lead to the big ones and this race is no exception.
But, before we jump to who’s who in the 2012 we have to refresh everyone on
where this race has stood on the road to the Kentucky Derby.
interesting factor about this race and its role in the Kentucky Derby
qualification process is the big difference between the old system and the new
system. Until this year the $1 Million purse made the Delta Downs Jackpot
Stakes one of the most criticized races on the Kentucky Derby trail. In fact it’s
very plausible to say that this race served as a key example of why the old system
was eventually thrown out.
described as an overvalued stakes, the Jackpot became known as an easy way into
the starting gate at the Kentucky Derby. This often created a problem as well
as many arguments. By winning the Jackpot a horse and its connections cleaned
house and took home a whopping $600k of graded stakes earnings. While it was
hard earned money in the bank it could never answer why it should automatically
qualify them for a birth into the Kentucky Derby. Secondly, the track record of
the winners hasn’t been very pleasing either. Since the inaugural running in
2002 no winner has claimed the roses. In addition, of the three horses that
elected to use the win to their advantage none of them we’re able to finish inside
the top 5 on the first Saturday in May.
was then. Now under the new rules the next winner will have to return stronger
than ever in the 3-yr-old season if they want to race against the elite of their
class. For the better this also means that there will no longer be any arguments
about the winner and if they deserve a place in the Kentucky Derby starting
gate. So, now may be the best time for a winner to make an impression. With that said let’s look at who could emerge
as a 2013 Kentucky Derby contender.
begin is with the horses that have already established themselves as those that
are targeting the Kentucky Derby. Although he is not the favorite the horse
that gets my attention is Bern Identity. Why is simple. It’s mainly because
only two months ago this horse seemed destined to be racing in at least one of
the Juvenile Division races at the Breeders’ Cup. Instead, Bern Identity was
put on alternate route and he thrived.
breaking his maiden in his 2nd attempt at Belmont Park this summer
Bern Identify fired again on a much larger scale. His win in the G2 Sanford
Stakes was brilliant and set him up for a test against Shanghai Bobby in the 7
Furlongs G2 Hopeful Stakes. In the end it wasn’t his day and he finished third.
Because it was his first race at a distance over 6 furlongs the resounding
prediction was that he would be sent to Santa Anita for the Juvenile Sprint.
That of course was only until an audible was called.
20 Bern Identity got a head start at Delta Downs in the non graded Jean Lafitte
Stakes. Let’s just say the decision was a good one as his first race at a
distance of at least 1 Mile is when Bern Identify showed much more. His 3 length
victory over 1 Mile was burning with confidence against a weaker field but he
delivered in convincing fashion. Opting out of the Breeders’ Cup paid off and the
decision may have set Bern Identity up for a perfect trip in today’s Jackpot
began with the second choice on the morning line the favorite still deserves
his due. The best way to describe Goldencents is lightly raced but battle
tested. Trained by Doug O’Neill this colt has earned his keep so far. Following
a huge career debut and maiden win, 7 ½ lengths, Goldencents flew out of
Southern California to try his talent against the leader on the east coast. Unfortunately,
Shanghai Bobby couldn’t be touched in the G1 Champagne Stakes so Goldencents settled for 2nd place.
young horse has raced very little yet always performs is when the jury tends
to agree that the upside has yet to be discovered. I can’t argue that case with
Goldencents but to put him ahead of Bern Identity is something that only a win
by Goldencents will force me to do. I think his 3-yr-old season is brighter but
for now I have to consider Bern Identity a step ahead.
One thing I
do really like about Doug O’Neill is that he is never afraid to put his horses
on the move. Know More is his second entry in the Jackpot but also his second entry that will be racing outside of California for the very first time. Comparable
to Bern Identity early on in their 2-yr-old season is when this colt seemed certain for
the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Parallel again is when an audible was called.
Instead the connections that include owner Paul Reddam opted instead for the
Juvenile Turf. But here is where there is a big difference. This change in
plans didn’t work out so well. In his first ever race on the Turf Know More was
nonexistent. Coupled with bad position and a very wide trip Know More staggered
in at second to last in the 14 horse field.
So will he
rebound. Considering his valiant score in his first ever race, the G2 Best Pal
Stakes, followed by back to back 2nd place finishes in the Del Mar
Futurity and the FrontRunner Stakes I would say the answer is yes. But if you
asked me to bet it I would be reluctant. I may change my mind but out of the
two Doug O’Neill entries I would give the advantage to the favorite.
last horse I’m going to cover is a true Breeders’ Cup tested horse and a proven
winner. That’s what you get called when you win a Breeders’ Cup race. Hightail,
trained by D. Wayne Lukas, hit it big in the Juvenile Sprint after paying
$32.80 to win and banking $270k in purse earnings. Before his epic win I wouldn’t
declare him a relative unknown but rather an also ran. Prior to making his
splash he had zero wins in eight lifetime starts and failed to hit the board in
four graded stakes starts. Because of his unpredictable win after a rocky start
I’m not really sure what to make of his chances in the Delta Downs Jackpot
Stakes. What I do know is that D. Wayne Lukas is legendary and that even though
I won’t be wagering on him I won’t be surprised if he repeats his Breeders’ Cup
Race 7 - Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes
Purse 1,000,000 | 1 1/16 Mile | Dirt | Post Time 4:15
||A. Stall, Jr.
||E. Plesa, Jr.
||Show Some Magic
Good luck to our Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes entries. We hope for a good trip, a safe return and to see you again on the road to the 2013 Kentucky Derby.