La Appassionata, Forevamo punch their tickets to Princess, Jackpot races

La Appassionata, an easy winner in the $100K My Trusty Cat

Delta Downs in nearby Vinton, La., hosted its first stakes races of the 2015-16 thoroughbred racing season last weekend as La Appassionata and Forevamo won the $100,000 My Trusty Cat and $200,000 Jean Lafitte, respectively, and punched their tickets to the Delta Princess and Delta Downs Jackpot.

Friday, Oct. 23, jockey Gerard Melancon placed the 2-year-old filly La Appassionata in perfect position to win the $100,000 My Trusty Cat by 7 lengths, covering 7 furlongs in 1:27.83 on a dry track. Trained by Steve Asmussen for Stonestreet Stables, the daughter of Bernardini improved to 2-2 for earnings of $82,920 and, more importantly, earns a starting spot in the Grade 3, $400,000 Delta Downs Princess held Saturday, Nov. 21.

It was the colts and geldings’ turn Oct. 24, and Forevamo staved off a late-charging Harlan Punch to win the $200,000 Jean Lafitte by less than a length, covering 1 mile in 1:42.36 over a sloppy track.

Ridden by Colby Hernandez, Forevamo is trained by Al Stall for owner Brittlyn Stables. The win gave the Florida bred colt his first victory in three starts for earnings of $130,550. The son of Uncle Mo will next start in the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Jackpot, which is also Nov. 21.

Speaking of the Jackpot, nominations for the 13th running closed last weekend, and 191 total horses were nominated for the 1 1/16-mile race that has a maximum start of 10 horses.

“We are very excited about the list of horses nominated to this year’s $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot,” said Steve Kuypers, vice president and general manager of Delta Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel. “Many of the top trainers in North America nominate 2-year-olds to this race each year, and that trend continues in 2015. This race, along with the entire Jackpot Day program, has become a mainstay on the national racing calendar, and Boyd Gaming and Delta Downs are very proud of that.”

Prominent trainers that have nominated horses this year include Triple Crown winner Bob Baffert, Doug O’Neill, Steve Asmussen, Mark Casse, Dale Romans, Kenneth McPeek, Kiaran McLaughlin, Jerry Hollendorfer and Jack Van Berg.

One of many horses on the list that jump out is Nyquist. The 2-year-old is a perfect 4-4 out of the O’Neill barn and will next race this Saturday, Oct. 31, in the Grade 1, $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland Racecourse.

The next stakes action at Delta Downs will come this weekend with the running of the $100,000 Magnolia on Friday, Oct. 30, and the $100,000 Gold Cup on Saturday, Oct. 31.

The Magnolia will be Race 9 on the 11-race program and is restricted to older Louisiana bred fillies/mares going 1 mile and features a field of eight.

The Gold Up will also be Race 9 on the Saturday card and the race attracted nine entries as the field of older Louisiana bred runners compete at 1 mile.

Live thoroughbred racing continues Wednesday-Saturday at Delta with a first race start time of 5:40 p.m.

Breeders’ Cup

The biggest weekend of the thoroughbred racing calendar begins this Friday, Oct. 30, at Keeneland Park in Kentucky and runs through Saturday, Oct. 31, with the illustrious Breeders’ Cup as the best horses in the world convene for purse money totaling more than $18.5 million. The races can bet at Delta Downs.

Friday, four Breeders’ Cup races will be held beginning at 2:30 p.m. The four races along with the morning line favorites are the $1 million Juvenile Turf (Cymric, 7/2); $1 million Las Vegas Dirt Mile (Liam’s Map, 1/1); $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf (Harmonize, 7/2); and the $2 million Longines Distaff (Sheer Drama, 9/2).

The Saturday Breeders’ Cup card begins at 11:05 a.m. with the $2 million 14 Hands Winery Juvenile Fillies (Songbird, 7/5).

The remaining BC races are the $1 million TwinSpires Turf Sprint (Lady Shipman, 5/2); $1 million TwinSpires Filly & Mare Sprint (Cavorting, 3-1); $2 million Filly & Mare Turf (Legatissimo, 8/5); $1.5 million TwinSpires Sprint (Run Happy, 3/1); $2 million Mile (Make Believe, 3/1); $2 million Sentient Jet Juvenile (Brody’s Cause, 7/2); $3 million Longines Turf (Golden Horn, 4/5); and the $5 million Classic (American Pharoah, 6/5).