Led by grade I winner Drill, a trio of California juveniles will invade Louisiana for the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot (gr. III), a race that will give the winner plenty of earnings heading into next year’s Triple Crown season.
Drill, the 2-1 morning-line favorite, is the first grade I winner to contest the Jackpot, a 1 1/16-mile event that was inaugurated in 2002. The Bob Baffert trainee won the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) in September, was second in the Oct. 1 Norfolk (gr. I) in his dirt debut at Santa Anita, and finished a disappointing 10th in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. The other California shippers are Basmati, who was fourth in the Norfolk and broke his maiden in his last start, and the Golden Gate Fields-based Longview Drive, a winner of his last three starts for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
Two-time winners Jake Mo and Laurie's Rocket will ship in from Churchill Downs, as will Iroquois (gr. III) runner-up Seven Lively Sins. Another main contender is convincing Jean Lafitte Stakes winner My Adonis from the barn of Kelly Breen, who shipped him into Delta Downs earlier this month. In all, a field of 10 was drawn.
Post time for the Nov. 19 Jackpot is scheduled for 4:15 CST. The lucrative $2.2 million program also features the $500,000 Delta Downs Princess (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies.
Baffert will add blinkers to Drill, who was never a factor in the BC Juvenile. The son of Lawyer Ron—Cat Dancer, by Storm Cat, made his final preparations for the Jackpot on Nov. 14 when breezing a bullet three furlongs in :35 2/5 at Santa Anita. Martin Garcia will keep the mount.
Drill was bred in Kentucky by Stonewall Farm Stallions and is owned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman.
Zillah Reddam’s Basmati (8-1), a son of Borrego, broke his maiden in his sixth try Oct. 28 at Santa Anita when going wire-to-wire in a one-mile race. Doug O’Neill has assigned Corey Nakatani to ride the chestnut colt, who was fifth to Drill in the Del Mar Futurity.
Steve Beneto’s Longview Drive (10-1) has recorded his three wins at Pleasanton, Santa Rosa, and Fresno in Northern California. He has been right on the pace in all of them, including the 1 1/16-mile Charlie Palmer Futurity last out on Oct. 16. He will break from the rail under Joel Rosario.
George and Lori Hall’s My Adonis has won his last two starts by a combined 10 lengths. Based at Monmouth Park for Breen, the Pleasantly Perfect colt broke his maiden by 4 3/4 lengths in his fourth try Sept. 24, then drew away in the stretch to score in the Jean Lafitte by more than five lengths as the odds-on favorite. He has recorded a pair of recent works at Delta Downs, including a four-furlong move in :48 3/5 Nov. 12. Elvis Trujillo will keep the mount on the 4-1 morning-line second choice.
Al Stall Jr. co-owns and trains Seven Lively Sins (9-2), a maiden winner at Keeneland in April. He set the pace and missed by less than a length in the one-mile Iroquois Oct. 30 at Churchill in his most recent start. Regular rider Julien Leparoux will make the trek to Louisiana for the Jackpot.
Also in the mix is Winchell Thoroughbred’s Sabercat (8-1), a runaway winner of the Garden State Stakes at Monmouth last month. Local rider Gerard Melancon will ride for Steve Asmussen.
$1 million Delta Downs Jackpot (gr. III, Race 7, 4:15 p.m.), 2YO, 1 1/16 Miles (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Longview Drive (KY), J Rosario, 119, J Hollendorfer
2. Seven Lively Sins (KY), J R Leparoux, 117 A M Stall Jr.
3. Tiz Moe (KY), J Theriot, 117, W B Calhoun
4. Basmati (KY), C S Nakatani, 117, D F O'Neill
5. My Adonis (KY), E Trujillo, 119, K J Breen
6. Drill (KY), M Garcia, 122, B Baffert
7. Laurie's Rocket (KY), B J Hernandez Jr., 117, D Stewart
8. Sabercat (KY), G Melancon, 119, S M Asmussen
9. Dougs Buddy (KY), R A Stokes III, 119, J Petrowski
10. Jake Mo (KY), D E Simington, 119, A Milligan