The “Road to the Kentucky Derby” takes us to the Pelican State Saturday where 10 two-year-old Thoroughbreds will go to the starting gate in the 11th running of the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) at Delta Downs racetrack.
Trainer Mark Casse will send Coastline to the gate as the lukewarm 5-2 morning-line favorite. In his three previous starts, Coastline has never finished worse than second and he comes into the Jackpot with a 3-length win in the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs on October 27. His time of 1:36.77 for the one mile race was pretty decent and the energy he showed at the finish indicates that Coastline should not have any trouble stretching out to 8½-furlongs.
Coastline has been working out good at Churchill Downs and regular jockey Shaun Bridgmohan returns for the mount. I look for Coastline to be competitive.
A long shot I like in the Jackpot is Rankhasprivileges who, at 15-1 morning-line odds, will go to the starting gate for trainer Kenny McPeek. Stepping up in class, Rankhasprivileges comes into this race off of a 1¼-length win in his maiden debut, running 8½-furlongs at Keeneland racetrack on October 20.
How Rankhasprivileges fares in his second start remains to be seen but I like his breeding.
File, the second dam of Rankhasprivileges, was a stakes winner of the Cinderella Stakes and she, also, is the dam of the outstanding stakes winner and sire Forty Niner. Continue, the third dam of Rankhasprivileges, and his fourth dam, Courtesy, are Reines-de-Course mares and the tail-female line (Family 1-n, Chelandry) is the same immediate family of the 1984 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1) winner, Swale – Continue is the second dam of Swale.
Spend A Buck, the grandsire of Rankhasprivileges, was a winner of numerous graded-stakes races including the 1985 Kentucky Derby and he also was the 1985 Eclipse Champion Three-Year-Old Colt and Horse of the Year. Einstein, the sire of Rankhasprivileges, was a Brazillian-bred multiple graded-stakes winner, proficient on dirt, turf and synthetic surfaces.
Nearly eight years earlier to the day, Einstein, as a three-year-old, also made his maiden debut at Keeneland on October 22 of 2005, finishing fifth in a 7-furlong sprint. On his second start, Einstein broke his maiden with an impressive 5¾-length win in a one mile maiden special weight at Churchill Downs. He followed that with a fourth-place finish in an 8½-furlong allowance race on the turf at Churchill Downs to close out his three-year-old racing season.
As a four-year-old, Einstein won his first three races including a narrow win by a neck in the one and seven sixteenths mile Gulstream Park Breeders’ Cup Stakes (G1) on the turf. Einstein finished the season with a fourth-place finish in the Pan American Handicap (G3) and the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes (G1).
In four racing seasons, from October of 2005 to November of 2009, Einstein compiled an 11-4-4 record in 30 starts with $2,945,238 in career earnings.
It’s too early to tell if Rankhaspriveleges will live up to his breeding. But, it appears that Rankhasprivileges is further along in his development than Einstein was at this time of year. If he continues to improve and move forward, Rankhasprivileges should be tough in the Jackpot.
Trainer Tom Amoss will send Rise Up to the starting gate as the 3-1 morning-line second choice. In five starts, Rise Up has compiled a 3-1-0 record including a 4¾-length win in the 6-furlong Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes at Mountaineer racetrack last August and 6½-length romp in the one mile Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs on October 26.
Jockey Gerard Melancon guided Rise Up to victory in the Jean Lafitte and he retains the mount in the Jackpot. Rise Up has been working out good at the Fair Grounds racetrack and a recent bullet work on November 15 could have him ready to run another good race.
Another long shot I like in this race is Big Bazinga (12-1) who comes into the Jackpot off of a narrow loss by a half-length the Grey Stakes at Woodbine racetrack on October 6. Big Bazinga took the lead in that race, but finally yielded at the finish line.
Rosie Napravnik picks up the mount on Big Bazinga in the Jackpot and if he repeats or improves on his performance in the Grey Stakes, I look for the pair to be competitive.