There was no separating Canadian invader Turf War and favored Z Humor at the finish of $1 million Boyd Gaming's Delta Jackpot (gr. III) following a desperate three-horse charge to the wire at foggy Delta Downs on the night of Dec. 7.

The third on the line in the rich 2-year-old event at 1 1/16 miles was the unlucky Golden Yank, who was sandwiched in between the winners in deep stretch and finished a neck behind. Stewards reviewed an objection into the the run to the wire but elected to make no change in the order of finish.

The Delta Jackpot is Louisiana's most lucrative race. The winners split $800,000.

Z Humor, the 3-2 choice ridden by Garrett Gomez, fought through along the inside to get the lead from pacesetter St. Joe, but was immediately tackled on the outside by Golden Yank and Gerard Melancon, who had to wait for room behind the leaders on the final turn but got free mid-stretch. The two staged a terrific duel but 35-1 shot Turf War, ridden by Calvin Borel, finishing strongest from far back in the middle of the track, grabbed a piece of the win action.

"I really thought I got beat," Borel told HRTV. "I've raced here all my life. But I got hung wide (around the final turn) and I thought I cost my horse the race."

Gomez noted, "My horse (Z Humor) ran a very good race. (Trainer) Bill (Mott) has done a terrific job. We knew he was talented enough for this field, but he had to prove it."

Zayat Stables owns Z Humor, a Kentucky-bred colt by Distorted Humor--Offtheoldblock (by A.P. Indy) who was purchased for $240,000 at Keeneland in September 2006. Jayeff B Stables bred the bay, who was coming off a fifth-place finish in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at sloppy Monmouth Park Oct. 27. Z Humor also ran third in the Champagne (gr. I) and Sapling (gr. III) stakes this season. His record stands at 2-0-2 in five starts.

Turf War, whose prior four races were at Woodbine for trainer Mark Casse and owners Woodford Racing, is a Kentucky-bred Dixie Union colt from the Mr. Prospector mare Grass Skirt who cost $100,000 at the same sale. W.S. Farish, E.J. Hudson Jr. and James Elkins bred the dark bay who won for the third time this season. He captured the Swynford on Polytrack in Canada in September before a fading sixth-place finish in the 1 1/16-mile Grey Cup (Can-III) Oct. 8, his last start.

St. Joe provided a strong pace, cutting fractions of :22 1/5, :45 4/5 and 1:11 4/5 before tiring. The winning time was 1:45 2/5 on a track labeled fast.

Z Humor paid $3.20, $3.40 and $2.80. Turf War returned $28.20 and $29.80. Golden Yank, previously undefeated in three starts for trainer Gary Thomas, was $4.40 to show.

Racecar Rhapsody finished fourth, followed by Overextended, St. Joe, Cave's Valley, Belatron, Take the Money and Cudjo.

(Chart, Equibase)

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