Delta Downs held two stakes races last weekend, and both winners were dominant in their respective performances Dec. 28-29 in Vinton, La.
Little Polka Dot didn’t mind a muddy track as she led nearly gate to wire in the $70,000 Lookout Stakes for older Louisiana bred fillies and mares going 1 mile on Dec. 28. Breaking from post position 5 in a field of seven, the 6-year-old mare sat right behind the early pace set by Menascott then wrangled away the lead around the final turn with jockey Diego Saenz in the saddle to cover the distance in 1:41.14 to win by 1 length over A Runnin Pop and Esther Carl, who ran third.
Owned by Coteau Grove Farm LLC and trained by Patrick Devereaux Jr., the daughter of Orientate won for the ninth time in 29 starts for earnings of $433,771.
Sent to the gate as the 9-5 favorite, the $2 win bet returned $5.80.
Dec. 29, it was the boys’ turn as older Louisiana bred horses went 1 mile in the $70,000 B-Connected Stakes, which saw Populist Politics rally from 2 1/2 lengths around the far turn then draw away from the competition to win by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:38.55 over a fast track with Gerard “Gee Money” Melancon in the saddle. Idefromthebayou was second, and Break Up was another head behind for third.
Trained by Tom Amoss for owners William Lawrence and Klaravich Stables Inc., the 4-year-old son of Don’t Get Mad improved to 6-21 with earnings of $432,416. Populist Politics came into the race with a 0-4 record at Delta Downs. The $2 win ticket returned $7.20.
Delta will host two stakes races this week with the $100,000 By The Light Stakes for open bred 3-year-old fillies at 7 furlongs on Jan. 4 and the $100,000 Big Drama Stakes for open bred 3-year-old colts/geldings at 7 furlongs on Jan. 5.
A field of seven is set for the By The Light Stakes, with the morning line favorite being the Kentucky bred Dancinginthecircle with rider Donnie Meche up for trainer Steve Asmussen. The filly is just 1-5 but ran second in the Grade 3 Arlington Washington Lassie at Arlington Park in September.
Unhedged should get plenty of play as this filly is 3-4; her only loss came in the Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Princess, where she ran sixth. Gerard Melancon will be in the saddle for trainer Tom Amoss.
The Big Drama Stakes also attracted seven entries, led by Hero Force, who has won 2-4 including the $100,000 Louisiana Juvenile at the Fair Grounds for trainer Bret Calhoun, and Asmussen’s King Henny, who makes his Delta debut after winning the $100,000 Clever Trever at Remington Park in Oklahoma.
Live thoroughbred racing continues at Delta Downs every Wednesday-Saturday beginning at 5:45 p.m.
Famous athletes spotted at Delta
Former NFL quarterback Jake Delhomme, who started for the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII, and is from Lafayette, La., owns a dozen or so horses under the stable name Set-Hut with his brother and horse trainer Jeff. Jake was at Delta Downs on Dec. 28 with the horse Coach Sonny, who won Race 3 at 11-1 odds, paying $26.40 for the $2 win bet with Gerard Melancon riding.
Spotted at Delta Downs on Dec. 29 was softball Olympian Jenny Finch, who is currently pregnant with her third child, with husband and former MLB pitcher Casey Daigle. Daigle is from Lake Charles, and the couple lives near Sulphur, La.
Diego Saenz continues to lead all riders in wins with 52 in 240 starts and is the first jockey this season to surpass the $1 million earning mark with $1,106,190. Chris Rosier is second with 44 followed by Gerard Melancon with 40. Joe Patin Jr. has 38 and Kevin Smith has 30.
Karl Broberg continues to hold onto the No. 1 spot in the trainer standings with 29 wins in 94 starts followed by Keith Bourgeois with 22 and Joey Foster with 16. Sam Breaux and Eric Nelson Jr. each have 14.