Led by Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint champion Hightail, the Delta Downs’ racing office received 15 pre-entries on Nov. 6 for this year’s Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Saturday, Nov. 17. The Jackpot Day program will have a special first post time of 1:15 p.m., and it will feature eight stakes races and more than $2.2 million in total purse money awarded.
This year’s field could be the most accomplished in its history. In addition to Hightail, there are three graded stakes winners and four graded-stakes placed horses pre-entered for the race. First prize in the Jackpot is $600,000.
The graded stakes winners include Bern Identity, winner of the Grade 2, $300,000 Sanford at Saratoga and the local $200,000 prep Jean Lafitte at Delta for trainer Kelly Breen; Know More, trained by Doug O’Neill, won the Grade 2, $150,000 Best Pal at Del Mar in his debut for trainer Leandro Mora; and Overanalyze, who won the Grade 2, $200,000 Futurity at Belmont Park for Todd Pletcher.
The other graded stakes placed pre-entry is Goldencent, also trained by O’Neill, who won the Grade 1, $400,000 Champagne at Belmont.
Hightail broke his maiden on Nov. 2 by winning the $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas at Santa Anita in California.
The remaining pre-entries include Heaven’s Runaway for trainer Joseph Martin, who won the $100,000 FJD Juvenile at Presque Isle Downs and was seventh in the Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill Downs; Mylute, for trainer Thomas Amoss, fifth in the Grade 3 Arlington Washington Futurity at Arlington Park and second in the Jean Lafitte behind Bern Identity; Tree of Life, winner in a $100,000 race at Fairplex Park and 10th in the Grade 1, $400,000 Breeders’ Cup Futurity at Keeneland for Craig Dollase; Itsmyluckyday, winner of 3 of 5 races including two small stakes at Calder Race Course in Florida for Edward Plesa Jr.; Two T’s At Two B, who has hit the board in all five starts including three wins (two stakes at Arlington Park for Kathleen O’Connell; and Joshua Comprise, the experience on the field (1-12) with all starts coming at Calder for Barry Rose; Show Some Magic, who sixth in the Jean Lafitte for Steve Asmussen. And for the first time in race history, connections of Central Banker paid a late $10,000 supplement fee to pre-enter the horse that just won an Allowance race at Churchill Downs for trainer Al Stall Jr.
Young Louisiana rider wins Breeders’ Cup Classic
On his 27th birthday, B.J. Hernandez Jr. of Lafeyette, La., won the Grade 1, $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic aboard Fort Larned on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita Park. It was the biggest win in the 27-year-old rider’s career. His father, Brian Hernandez Sr., and brother Colby Hernandez are jockeys at Delta Downs.