George Wolf's homebred Leaving On My Mind tops a field of 10 in Saturday's $1 million Boyd Gaming's Delta Jackpot Stakes, the second richest 2-year-old race in North America.
Today the Graded Stakes Committee granted Delta Downs' premiere event grade III status beginning in 2005.
Conditioned by Danny Pish, Leaving On My Mind capped off a streak of four consecutive stakes wins, including a five-length score in the Nov. 6 Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs. His winning streak ended with a third-place finish in the $150,000 Sam Houston Texan Juvenile Stakes Nov. 20.
Jockey Roman Chapa will defend his 2003 Jackpot title as he pilots Leaving On My Mind from post two in the 1 1/16- mile event.
The son of Valid Expectations
is the only horse to have started at the Vinton, La. track.
Todd Pletcher-trained Funk will break from post five under jockey Eddie Martin Jr.The colt will be making his fourth start for owners Starlight Stables, Paul Saylor, and Barbara Kurtin.
Bred by Formal Gold in Kentucky, the son of Unbridled's Song
enters the Jackpot off a runner-up finish behind Defer in the Laurel Futurity (gr. III) at Pimlico Nov. 20. Prior to that first stakes attempt, he won an allowance race at Meadowlands by and impressive 7 1/4 lengths.
Also in line for the million will be Philip and Marcia Cohen's Closing Argument conditioned by Kiaran McLaughlin. Bred in Florida by France Weiner and Irwin J. Weiner, the son of Successful Appeal
broke his maiden by three lengths at Saratoga. He then went on to win the NATC Futurity at Delaware Park, followed by a third-place finish in the Florida Stallion In Reality Stakes at Calder. He enters the field off a runner-up effort in the Jack Price Juvenile Stakes, also at Calder.
Jockey Cornelio Velasquez, who has been aboard for all but one of Closing Argument's starts, will guide the colt from position nine.
California-bred Texcess will make his fourth career start for Paul G. Aquirre and Omar Aldabbagh. Aquirre also conditions the winner of the Oct. 16 California Cup Juvenile Stakes at Santa Anita. In addtion to that win, the gelding son of In Excess
comes to the Jackpot with a second-place showing in the Barretts Juvenile Stakes at Fairplex Park.
Victor Espinoza, who guided Texcess to a Nov. 14 allowance race victory at Hollywood Park has the mount. The pair will break from post six.
Supporting the Jackpot card will be the $250,000 Boyd's Gaming Delta Princess Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, $75,000 Treasure Chest Stakes for older fillies and mares, and the $75,000 Sam's Town for older horses.Boyd Gaming's Delta Jackpot Stakes, Delta Downs Race Track, 1 1/16 miles, $1 million, 2-year-olds, Saturday, Dec. 4, post time: 6:24 EDT
PP – Horse, Weight, Jockey
1 -- Major League, 119, Corey J. Lanerie
2 -- Leaving On My Mind, 119 Roman Chapa
3 -- United, 119, Gerard Melancon
4 -- My Parade, 119, Filemon T. Rodriguez
5 -- Funk, 117, Eddie M. Martin Jr.
6 -- Texcess, 119, Victor Espinoza
7 -- Cherokee Path, 117, Guy Smith
8 -- Anthony J., 117, Jose A. Velez Jr.
9 -- Closing Argument, 119, Cornelio H. Velasquez
10 –Accurate, 119, Norberto Arroyo, Jr.