For the third consecutive year, nominations to the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot have reached an all-time high. A total of 301 possible candidates have been nominated to the race, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary Saturday, Nov. 17. That number represents a 19.4 percent increase over last year’s total of 252 nominations.
“The $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot continues to grow, and we’re ecstatic about setting another record number of nominations,” said Steve Kuypers, vice president and general manager of Delta Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel. “The fact that so many horsemen are interested in our race speaks volumes about how far we’ve come in 10 short years, and we expect this event to get even bigger in the years to come.”
Several nationally prominent trainers have nominated horses to this year’s race including Dale Romans, who led all with a stunning 69 nominations. Bob Baffert had 11, followed by Todd Pletcher with seven, D. Wayne Lukas with six, and Steve Asmussen nominated three, among others.
The 11-race Jackpot Day program will feature eight stakes and over $2.2 million in total purse money up for grabs and the race day will once again have a special start time of 1:15 p.m.
The nominees for the Jackpot will be pared down again on Nov. 6 when pre-entries are taken in the track’s racing office. Late nominations will be accepted until entries close on the same date.
The Jackpot is one of 36 races included in the new Road to the Kentucky Derby series. The top four finishers in this year’s Jackpot will be awarded points on a 10-4-2-1 scale toward a possible starting position in the Derby.
A pair of $100,000 stakes races was held last weekend at Delta Downs, and Lee’s Spirit upset the field at 14-1 to win the Gold Cup on Oct. 27. The 7-year-old gelding was forced wide around the far turn but drew away from the eight-horse field down the stretch to cover the 1-mile race in 1:39.17 over a fast track.
Ridden by John Jacinto for trainer Edward Johnston, the son of Leestown improved to 11-48 with earnings of $548,933 and returned $30.80 on a $2 win ticket. Johnston claimed the gelding for $20,000 at Louisiana Downs in September.
Heavy favorite Populist Politics ran second, followed by Heavy On Themister.
There was no question in the $100,000 Magnolia Stakes, and favorite She’s Prado Idol would not be denied. The 3-year-old filly rallied from eighth to win by a length Oct. 26 as the daughter of Screen Idol covered the 1-mile venture in 1:40.81. Pretty Not – a 57-1 long shot – finished second, and Harlie’s Dream ran third.
Trained by Garland Goins and jockeyed by Tracy Hebert, the Louisiana bred filly returned $5.60 on a $2 win bet and improved to eight wins in 12 starts for earnings of $335,320.
Live thoroughbred racing continues every Wednesday-Saturday with a start time of 5:45 p.m. Free handicapping selections can be found online under the sports tab at theexaminer.com.