I’ve never understood why the Delta Jackpot doesn’t draw more top horses. The $1 million purse means the winner is virtually guaranteed a spot in the Kentucky Derby. This year it appears that trainers are finally waking up and smelling the coffee, as several high class runners are shipping in for a chance at big money. Speaking of big things, it was Big Drama who won the race in 2008. He recently earned a signature victory in the Breeders Cup Sprint. Let’s take a look at this years Delta Jackpot field.
Gourmet Dinner- This guy is shipping in from Calder after finishing second in a statebred race worth $365k. He was unbeaten in three starts before that. The trainer has opted to throw the blinkers on for this race. I like the way he regressed off a career best number last out, but didn’t fall too far. Look for him to be closing hard. The short stretch at Delta Downs won’t do him any favors though. It’s clear he is a top contender.
Classic Legacy- Moves to the Baffert barn after a rock solid third place finish in the Grey Stakes. I love the sweeping move he made in that race. Baffert saw fit to throw blinkers on. I’m a little concerned that Martin Garcia isn’t in for the ride. Instead, Joe Talamo will be riding. I’ve got nothing against Joe, but Baffert almost always send Garcia to ride his very best horses. He looks to be a cut below the best, but Baffert can be a miracle worker.
Aces N Kings- Was unbeaten until a horrid ride in the Sunday Silence Stakes. He’s clearly the most accomplished runner in the race with 5 wins. He’s won at distances ranging from 4.5 furlongs to 8 furlongs. He’s battle tested, but will have to run a career best race to take the cake. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him do so. Calvin Borel is in to ride.
Rush Now- Son of Tiznow won by 13 3/4 lengths in his second start at Delaware. Followed that up with a win in the $75k Dover Stakes. I love the way he has improved with each of his three starts, and I also love his :47 2/5 B work leading into this race. This is an enormous step up in class, but Tony Dutrow wouldn’t have him if he didn’t think this colt was ready.
Bug Juice- Has been very impressive sprinting in New York. The son of Mingun was purchased for $3k and has already earned $280,740. He fired a three furlong bullet on this track, and JJ Castellano is in to ride. I expect to see him on the lead, but for how long?
Blue Laser- The son of Bluegrass Cat is a very bad favorite at 3-1. He won the Grade 3 Grey Stakes over Polytrack last out, but has yet to race on dirt. I think his running style is the right type for this race, but I don’t think he is good enough to win.
Sweet Ducky- Kelly Breen trainee has to be considered on virtue of his win last out in a $70k minor stakes race at Monmouth. The son of Pulpit will have no problems getting this distance. I’m encouraged to see Joe Bravo in for the ride. He fired a 1st of 83 :47 4/5 B bullet for four furlongs on November 13. If he can improve on his last effort nobody is beating him.
This race presents a great wagering opportunity because of an excess of solid contenders. I can see 5 or 6 different horses in the winners circle. With that said, our top selection will be Sweet Ducky at 4-1. There is sufficient value at his morning line price. He has proved he can go the distance, and his late kick should be beneficial given the short stretch at Delta Downs. Look for him to sit close to the pace and blow past them when Joe Bravo decides its time to go for broke. Here are some plays we like:
WIN on 9
Dime Superfecta: 2,9/1,2,3,4,9/1,2,3,4,6,8,9/1,2,3,4,6,8,9
Pick 4 (Starts in Race 4): 6/2,7,8,9/1,2,5,6,7,8/9