The Delta Downs Jackpot (G3), with a $1 million dollar purse, is the first major graded stakes race on the trail to the 2012 Kentucky Derby. A win will give a young thoroughbred enough graded earnings to get into the Kentucky Derby and ten 2-year-olds go to the starting gate today to compete for a chance to earn a spot in the Derby starting gate.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert ships Drill to the Jackpot from California and he’ll go to the post as the 2-1 morning line favorite.
With a win in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) in September, Drill is the only graded stakes winner entered in the race and appears to be the deserving favorite. Drill comes into the race with a 2-1-0 record in five starts and will be racing with blinkers.
I normally don’t pay attention to an equipment change unless it dramatically affects a horse’s performance. But twice Drill has finished out of the money when he raced without the blinkers – Drill finished eighth in his maiden debut and tenth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs.
It remains to be seen if the lack of blinkers was the reason for Drill’s poor performance. However, if Drill runs to his form in the Del Mar Futurity and second-place finish in the Norfolk Stakes (G1), he’ll be very competitive and tough to beat.
My Adonis is getting some buzz as the 4-1 morning line second-choice and comes into the race with two sharp wins including a 5¼-length victory in the Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs on October 22.
But three long shots I like and will use with Drill in the exotics are Longview Drive (10-1), Laurie’s Rocket (10-1) and Jake Mo (15-1).
Longview Drive, a full-brother to Louisiana Derby winner Pyro, has never been out of the money in four starts and comes into the race with three wins including the Cavonnier Juvenile Stakes at Santa Rosa racetrack and the Charlie Palmer Futurity at Fresno racetrack.
Although Longview Drive has yet to compete in a graded stakes race, with three wins in four starts he is farther along than Pyro who only had one win in four starts at this same time of year.
After a two month layoff, Longview Drive easily won his route debut last month going 8½-furlongs in 1:45.50 to win the Charlie Palmer Futurity by 1¼-lengths. The time was slow but I like it that he won off the layoff and he has room to improve his performance in the Jackpot.
I also like it that Joel Rosario has the mount.
I’ll be watching Laurie’s Rocket in the post parade to see how he looks. Laurie’s Rocket is taking a big step up in class but with Bluegrass Cat as his sire and American Chance as the damsire, Laurie’s Rocket has the breeding to handle the stretch out to 8½-furlongs.
Bluegrass Cat won the Remsen Stakes (G2), Nashua Stakes (G3), Sam F. Davis Stakes and finished second in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1). American Chance was a decent middle-distance runner who won the Jersey Derby (G2), Lafayette Stakes (G3) and finished second in the Illinois Derby.
With the addition of blinkers in his last race, Laurie’s Rocket also showed big improvement earning a 91 Brisnet Speed Figure. If Laure’s Rocket improves off of that effort he should be competitive at a good price.
Jake Moe is taking a big step up in class and has never run in a route race. But with Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo as his sire and Canadian Triple Crown winner With Approval as his damsire, he has the breeding to handle the stretch out.
And the stretch out to 8½-furlongs may be what Jake Moe needs as the comment line for several of his races indicates that he rallies late.
Good luck with your picks.