If you think that November is too early to check out prospective horses for the Kentucky Derby, look no further than this Saturday’s $1 million Delta Jackpot. As one of the richest graded stake races for 2-year-olds in North America the winner of the Delta Jackpot will earn $590,000 thus guaranteeing a spot in the Derby – if they stay healthy and sound.
A major key to handicapping this competitive race featuring 10 runners from all over the US and Canada will be figuring out which horses will run well over the sandy surface and tight turns at Delta Downs. As with any race for 2-year-olds distance is also key with many of the starters here never running or winning a race at a mile or more.
The 2-1 morning line favorite is Drill, who had a disappointing 10th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. From a class standpoint Drill is by far the most accomplished horse in the field after winning the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity and finishing as runner up in the Grade 1 Norfolk. Trained by Bob Baffert, Drill is sure to take plenty of money and could be an even shorter price by post time.
Another one to look out for will be My Adonis, who broke his maiden at Delta Downs and subsequently won going away by 5 1/4 lengths in the Jean Lafitte Stakes there on October 22. My Adonis has been training well at Delta Downs and seems to relish the track.
Jake Mo is another horse exiting a Breeders’ Cup race after finishing fifth in the inaugural running of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint. This son of Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo got his start winning sprints at Prairie Meadows and will be stretching out for the first time from six furlongs.
Lastly there is Dougs Buddy, who has become a star at his home base of Northlands Park in Alberta, Canada is undefeated over four starts including several stakes. Two weeks ago he shipped over 2,000 miles by van from the frigid north just for this race. In addition to being undefeated over four starts, Dougs Buddy has the advantage of winning over a tight five furlong track at Northlands Park. The track at Delta Downs is a six furlong oval with similarly tight turns. Though he could have gone to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile his connections have been saving him for this race with an eye on the purse money as his ticket to the derby trail. While the horses here are vastly superior to the competition he faced in Canada, 2-year-olds are hard to predict due to their developmental state. If we learned anything from this year’s 2-year-old racing season it’s that talent and ability are the two most important factors in this division. Just like many people didn’t believe Hansen, a horse from Turfway Park, could beat Union Rags a flashy graded stakes winner from the New York circuit – Dougs Buddy could be a real contender at a generous price.
The $1 million Delta Jackpot run at 1 1/16 miles will go off as the 7th of 11 races. For the rest of the card at Delta Downs and other great stakes action on Saturday be sure to log-in or sign up for a Winning Ponies account.