Kaaren and Hays Biggs' Mr. Jester, sent off at 14-1 odds, rolled to the lead leaving the second turn and then held off a late challenge to win Friday's $1-million Boyd Gaming's Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs in Louisiana.
Cooperation, the Bob Baffert trainee ridden by Alex Solis, took the early lead in the 1 1/16-mile race, getting the first quarter mile in :23 while being stalked by Tales of Glory and longshot Rush Into Heaven. Continuing to lead down the backstretch, Cooperation was timed in :45 4/5 for the half mile and 1:11 1/5 for six furlongs as the rest of the field closed on him. As Cooperation backed up, Mr. Jester displayed his quick turn of foot. leading to the wire. Ridden by Ramon Chapa, Mr. Jester completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45 1/5.
Mr. Jester paid $30.60, $9.80, and $6.20, with Fire Slam finishing three-quarters of a length back in second and paying $7.00 and $4.80. Perfect Moon closed late for third, paying $3.40. Previously unbeaten Judiths Wild Rush, the 17-10 favorite, finished ninth in the 10-horse field.
The victory was the fourth in six starts for Mr. Jester, a 2-year-old son of Deputy Minister trained by Steve Wren who has now earned $730,800.
"My horse was real tight for this one," Wren said. "I don't think I'm going to sleep tonight. This is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me."
Bred in Kentucky by G. Watts Humphrey, Mr. Jester was purchased for $75,000 at this year's Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's April sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Mr. Jester broke his maiden by 9 1/4 lengths at first asking and won the Pioneer Stakes at Louisiana Downs in his third career start. In the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) at Turfway Park, Mr. Jester finished second but was awarded the victory upon the disqualification of winner Pomeroy.
Previous to the Delta Jackpot, Mr. Jester finished second to Joe Six Pack in Delta Downs' Jean Lafitt Futurity. Joe Six Pack threatened early before finishing unplaced in the Delta Jackpot.