Trainer Kelly Breen won his second consecutive Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs when Kentucky bred Bern Identity won the $200,000 race for open bred 2-year-olds going 1 mile on Oct. 20.
Jockey Paco Lopez and the Bernstein colt owned by George and Lori Hall pressed the early pace and took over the lead from Mr. Bandini’s Band at the 3/4-pole, going four wide around the final turn then drawing away to win by three lengths in 1:39.47 over a fast track.
“We wanted to get him some experience over this track before that race,” said Breen. “This racetrack is a bit sandier than some, and we want him to feel the dirt kicked in his face so he would know what it’s like. Now we want to win the big one.”
Bern Identity improved to 3-5 with earnings of $426,000 and will next enter the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot on Nov. 17.
Breen and Bern Identity’s owners have had several chances to score a win in the Delta Jackpot but have yet to take their picture in the winner’s circle. In 2008, they sent out Westside Bernie, who finished second to eventual Breeders’ Cup Champion Big Drama. In 2010, they watched as Sweet Ducky ran fourth behind 20-1 upset winner Gourmet Dinner. And last year My Adonis engaged in an early speed dual before fading and finishing ninth behind Sabercat.
The 1-2 favorite returned $3 for the win. Mylute finished second with Mr. Bandini’s Band running third.
On opening night Oct. 19, Madame Cactus rallied from three lengths to win the $150,000 My Trusty Cat with jockey Richard Eramia in the saddle for trainer Steve Asmussen and owners Mr. and Mrs. Marc C. Ferrell.
The Kentucky bred daughter of Cactus Ridge settled mid-pack for most of the 7-furlong race before turning for home to win by two lengths in 1:27.29 over a fast track. The $2 win ticket returned $5.60 on the 9-5 favorite. Finishing second was Sittin At The Bar followed by Cayllano.
The filly improved to two wins in three starts for earnings of $132,000. Her next race could be the Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Princess on Nov. 17.
Weekend stakes action
Live thoroughbred racing continues every Wednesday-Saturday with a first post time of 5:45 p.m. The track will host two stakes this weekend beginning with the $100,000 Magnolia on Oct. 26 for Louisiana bred fillies/mares 3 years and older going 1 mile.
Entered in the full field of 10 is last year’s winner Lawyer Tiffany, who set a new stakes record time of 1:39.57 with Juan Larrosa riding for trainer Henry Johnson Jr., and the connections are the same this year.
Oct. 27, older Louisiana bred horses will go 1 mile in the $100,000 Gold Cup. As of press time, the post positions were not available but 21 horses were nominated to the race including Lee’s Spirit, who led the list in career earnings with $498,933.
Star Guitar won the event last year in 1:39.19 for trainer Albert Stall Jr. with jockey Corey Lanerie in the irons.
Free handicapping selections from myself, Delta track announcer Don Stevens and the Jackpot Tip sheet are available online at theexaminer.com each race day.