Selected as the 3-1 morning line favorite, Blue Laser heads a field of 10 thoroughbreds entered in Saturday’s eighth running of the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (G3) for 2-year-olds at Delta Downs.
Blue Laser, the only graded-stakes winner in the field, comes into the race with a half-length victory in the Grey Stakes (G3) at Woodbine on October 10 and looks like the horse to beat. He and is trained by Mark Casse who tied for the win in the 2007 Jackpot when his horse Turf War dead-heated with Z Humor.
I like Blue Laser’s pedigree. His sire, Bluegrass Cat, won the Remsen Stakes (G2) and Nashua Stakes (G3) as a 2-year-old and, as a 3-year-old, finished second in the Kentucky Derby (G1), Belmont Stakes (G1) and Travers Stakes (G1). Blue Laser’s damsire is the 1989 Canadian Triple Crown winner With Approval.
Blue Laser is a descendant of the Northern Dancer sire line and four horses from that line have won in the last seven editions of the Delta Downs Jackpot: Turf War, Birdbirdistheword (2006), Mr. Jester (2003) and Outa Here (2002).
A couple of long shots I like are Classic Legacy (6-1) and Bug Juice (8-1).
In his last race, the Grey Stakes (G3), Classic Legacy made a nice run from dead last at the half, sweeping six-wide past the field of nine-horses, to lead a the top of the stretch. However, despite the nice run, Classic Legacy could not keep the lead and finished third to Blue Laser – beaten by only three-quarters of a length.
Since then, Classic Legacy has been moved to the barn of trainer Bob Baffert and adds blinkers for the Jackpot. Jockey Joe Talamo gets the mount on Classic Legacy and I look for the pair to be closer to the pace.
Classic Legacy’s sire Macho Uno has 10 juvenile winners in 18 starters for 56 percent.
The Jackpot will be a big test for Bug Juice who has never run in a route race and steps up into graded stakes competition for the first-time. Bug Juice was very impressive in winning the Aspirant Stakes and New York Breeders’ Futurity, both at 6-furlongs, and it remains to be seen just how far he wants to run.
But, Bug Juice has the breeding to get the distance of the Jackpot. His sire, Mingun, was a graded stakes champion at a mile to 10-furlongs and his damsire, Twilight Agenda, won several 9-furlong graded stakes races.
A recent bullet work out over the Delta Downs track indicates that Bug Juice should be ready to run a good race.
In four starts, Sweet Ducky (4-1) has only been off the board once and comes into the Jackpot with three wins including a first-place finish in the Garden State Stakes and Seton Hall University Stakes – both were run at a mile at Monmouth Park.
A recent bullet work out November 13 at Delta Downs and Sweet Ducky should be ready to run a good race.
Classic Legacy is a descendant of the Holy Bull sire line, Bug Juice and Sweet Ducky are descendants of the Bold Ruler sire line and no runners from either of those lines have won during the short history of the Delta Downs Jackpot.