Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint winner Hightail heads 15 pre-entries to this year's $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot (gr. III), which celebrates its 10th anniversary Nov. 17. The Jackpot Day program at Delta Downs will have a special first post time of 1:15 p.m. CST and it will feature eight stakes and more than $2.2 million in total purse money awarded at the Vinton, La., track.
The Jackpot is part of the new "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series, which includes 36 stakes leading up to next year's Run for the Roses May 4 at Churchill Downs. The top four finishers in this year's Jackpot will be awarded points on a 10-4-2-1 scale toward a possible starting position in the first leg of the 2013 Triple Crown.
The 2012 field could be the most accomplished in history. In addition to Hightail, there are three graded stakes winners and four graded stakes-placed horses pre-entered for the race. First prize in the Jackpot is $600,000.
The other graded stakes-placed pre-entrant is Goldencents, also trained by O'Neill, who finished second to Shanghai Bobby in the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont.
Bluegrass Hall's Hightail could become the first Breeders' Cup winner to ever run in the Jackpot. The D. Wayne Lukas trainee broke his maiden Nov. 2 while taking the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint at Santa Anita Park. Should the son of Kentucky-bred son of Mineshaft make to the starting gate, it would mark the first starter in the race for the legendary Hall of Fame conditioner.
This year's Jackpot also attracted a supplemental entry for the first time in history as Klaravich Stables, Inc. and William H. Lawrence paid the $10,000 fee to pre-enter Central Banker. The Al Stall Jr. trainee was very impressive while winning an allowance race at Churchill Oct. 28, just eight days after the regular nominations closed for the Jackpot.
Final entries and post positions will be drawn Nov. 14. First preference for the race will be given to Bern Identity, who won the Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Oct. 20. After that, preference will be given to those horses that have finished first, second, or third in a grade I or grade II race, then preference goes to those horses that have finished in the money in any graded stakes. The final determinant to get into the field will be lifetime earnings at the time of pre-entries closing.
Additional information about the race can also be found on the 'Delta Downs Racing' page on Facebook, and by following Delta Downs on Twitter @deltaracing.