Delta Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel has increased the purse for the Delta Downs Jackpot (gr. III) from $750,000 to $1 million for this year’s running on Nov. 20.

According to an announcement from Boyd Gaming, which owns the Louisiana track, the purse increase for the race for 2-year-olds is designed to boost the graded earnings for the winner to qualify for a starting berth in the 2011 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The 20 starters for the Derby are determined on the basis of earnings in graded stakes. This year’s race will also be contested two weeks earlier than in the past.

"We are committed to making the Delta Downs Jackpot one of the most important 2-year-old stakes on the national racing calendar, " Paul Chakmak, COO of Boyd Gaming said in a release. "The late November date and $1,000,000 purse will provide a path for a run at the 2011 Triple Crown."

The Delta Downs Jackpot is the second richest race in the U.S. for 2-year-olds, behind only the Grey Goose Breeders’Cup Juvenile (gr.I).

With $2.4 million in total purses, Delta Downs Jackpot Day also includes the $500,000 Delta Princess (gr. III) for 2-year-old fillies and two juvenile races for Louisiana bred horses: the $250,000 Delta Legacy for 2-year-old colts and the $250,000 Delta Jewel for 2-year-old fillies. Two open stakes--the $125,000 Delta Mile for 3-year-olds and up, and the $125,000 Treasure Chest for 3-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, are also on the card, which is rounded out by The Sam’s Town for 3-year-olds and the Orleans for 3-year-old fillies will be run with purses of $60,000 each.

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