Trainer Doug O’Neill has won a lot of big races this year including the Kentucky Derby, and he has now added another big one to his resume. Goldencents, who was one of two O’Neill trainees in the race, led gate to wire and held off two late runners in Bern Identity and Mylute to win the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot on Nov. 17.
Ridden by Kevin Krigger, the 2-year-old son of Into Mischief broke from the far outside in post 9 and set speedy early fractions of 22.64 and 46.22. Once the two reached the far turn, Krigger tapped the colt to cover the 1 1/16 mile course in 1:44.98 over a fast track, winning by 1 3/4 lengths over the 9-5 betting favorite Bern Identity. Longshot (25-1) Mylute with Gerard Melanconon board made a late run to finish third.
“Kevin knows this colt,” said O’Neill. “He’s worked him nearly every out. When I heard the announcer give the early fractions, I thought, ‘Uh oh, we are going a little too quick,’ but we all have so much faith in this colt. Kevin kept him out of trouble and didn’t fight him, and it worked out perfect. I don’t know the exact path, but we will probably look somewhere at Santa Anita after the first of the year — maybe the Bob Lewis Stakes. This horse has been in New York and Louisiana in two of his three starts, so he travels great. This colt has both speed and stamina and will plan a path to next year’s Kentucky Derby.”
Owned by Dave Kenney, Rick Pitino (coach of Louisville basketball) of RAP Racing, and Josh Kaplan and Glenn Sorgenstein of W.C. Racing, Goldencents improved to 2-3 with earnings of $722,000. The horse earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 89 for the race.
Making his first trip to Delta, the 28-year-old Krigger is a native of St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and has been riding in Southern California.
“I wasn’t concerned that I had never ridden on this track before,” said Krigger. “I knew I had a great horse. I came in confident like I did in New York when we finished second in the Champagne Stakes. This is the best 2-year-old I have ever sat on, and it’s a dream come true. I’ve waited my entire career to ride a horse like this and win this type of race. When I got to the final turn, I quote my wife who always tells me to, ‘Move.’ I played the race like it came. The more I asked, the more he gave.”
The $2 win ticket returned $7.20 with exotics $2 trifecta ($175.40) and $2 superfecta ($881.20). Total money bet on the 11-race program was $4,359,362, which was the second highest in Jackpot Day history and only 1.57 percent lower than last year’s record total of $4,434,099.
There were also seven other stakes races on the Nov. 17 program including the Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Princess for 2-year-old fillies.
Delta Downs Princess
Rose to Gold shook off rival and 25-1 longshot Touch Magic down the stretch then pulled away to win the $500,000 Delta Downs Princess as the 2-year-old daughter of Friends Lake covered the 1 mile distance in 1:39.38. Ridden by Paco Lopez for trainer Sal Santoro and owners Kathleen Amaya and Raffaele Centofanti, Rose to Gold improved to 3-4 with earnings of $372,889. The $2 win ticket returned $7.60.
Making his 14th career start, Prospective, who finished 18th in the Kentucky Derby in May, swung wide around the final turn and pulled away from the pack to win the $150,000 Delta Mile for open bred 3-year-olds by 1 1/4 lengths. With jockey Miguel Mena up for trainer Mark Casse and owner John Oxley, the Ohio Derby and Tampa Bay Derby winner is now 7-14 with earnings of $706,235. Winning time for the mile was 1:38.57. The $2 win ticket returned $8.20. The betting favorite, Pants on Fire, whohas won the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and Grade 3 Pegasus, was very fractious in the gate and finished six of seven.
Trainer Patrick Devereaux Jr. had two entries in the $150,000 Treasure for older fillies and mares going 1 mile, and they finished 1-2 with Bella Medaglia, who won the race last year, defending her title and Little Ms Protocol rounding out the Devereaux Jr. exacta. The 5-year-old mare won by 1 3/4 lengths in 1:38.52 with John Jacinto riding for owners Coteau Grove Farms LLC and improving to 5-20 for earnings of $355,776. The $2 win ticket returned $6.
Westernator rallied from five lengths back to win by less than a length over Heitai to claim the $150,000 Louisiana Legacy for 2-year-old bred Louisiana runners going 1 mile. With Mark Guidry riding for owner/trainer Steve Asmussen, the son of Intimidator covered the distance in 1:41.16 and improved to 2-6 with earnings of $138,092. The $2 win bet returned $7.60. Heitai defeated Westernator in their last race, an Allowance race back on Oct. 20 at Delta.
In the fastest race of the day, Monono dominated the field in a new Orleans stakes record time of 1:26.04 over 7 furlongs, which broke the old record of 1:26.60 set last year by Mollys Miss’bhaven. Jockey Richard Eramia was in the saddle for trainer Michelle Lovelle and owner Agave Racing Stable. It marked the fifth time the filly has been in the winner’s circle in 12 starters for earnings of $160,685. The $2 win bet paid $12.40.
Jockey Miguel Mena and Donoharm wore down rival Peace Wins then held off a furious rally by Jonesy Boy to win the $70,000 Sam’s Town for 3-year-old horses who have never won a stakes. The son of Lemon Drop Kid covered 7 furlongs in 1:25.98 to return $4.40 on a $2 win bet. Trained by Bret Calhoun for owners Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch, Donoharm improved to 4-13 with earnings of $137,080.
Fresh off breaking her maiden Oct. 19 at Delta Downs, the Joey Foster trained Hometown Gossip whispered her way from the field to win impressively by 3 1/4 lengths in the $150,000 Louisiana Jewel for 2-year-old fillies from the state of Louisiana. The daughter of Milwaukee Brew along with jockey Chris Rosier covered the 1-mile trek in 1:41.06, which improved her record to 2-6 for earnings of $124,040. The $2 win ticket paid $15.20.