Early Derby Trail comes to the Bayou; Baffert looks to stack deck in CashCall; Derby news roundup

The next stop on the new “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series is the ever-controversial Delta Downs Jackpot.  One of the first races to showcase a slots inflated purse, it gained even more infamy six years ago when earning graded status and thus becoming an instant win-and-you’re-in race for the Derby.  Although none of that matters now, it’s logical to assume the Delta Downs Jackpot was “Exhibit A” in the case for revamping the Derby qualification system.  Still, the race made the cut for the new Derby trail and carries as many points as the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and any other qualifying race held before mid-February of next year.

Despite its past shortcomings, this year’s running presents a competitive field that includes two graded stakes winners, two graded stakes placed runners, a Breeders’ Cup winner, and two listed stakes winners.  Typical of most Juvenile stakes contests, the Jackpot brings questions of class, distance, layoffs, and surface switches. 

Doug O’Neill’s Goldencents is the morning line favorite at 5-2, based on his 2nd place finish in the Champagne Stakes (G1) to eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Shanghai Bobby.  However, he will be going two-turns for the first time and his pedigree suggests that could be asking too much.  His stablemate Know More could be a more attractive play based on his kinder odds and stronger pedigree mix of Lion Heart on top and a Seattle Slew mare on the bottom.  A recent no-show 13th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf probably just means he doesn’t like the grass as opposed to being outclassed, but his runner-up finish in the Front Runner Stakes (G1) was tarnished when the winner Power Broker failed to fire in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile soon after. 

Another to surely attract attention is D. Wayne Lukas’ Hightail, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint who will stretch out to two-turns and wheel back on just two weeks rest.  Not only is timing and distance a concern, but the Breeders’ Cup victory was probably an aberration considering it was his first win in 9 starts. 

Second favorite Bern Identity has the most going for him in my opinion; consistency (3 wins in 5 starts, always in the money), a win on the track (a big plus at the quirky Delta Downs track), top dirt speed figure (103 BRIS) and class (Grade 2 winner, also 3rd to Shanghai Bobby in the Hopeful at Saratoga). 

Heaven’s Runway, Central Banker, Mylute, It’smyluckyday, and Show Some Magic round out the field. Links to stories, free PPs, and more Derby related news below:

Delta Downs Jackpot (G3)
Delta Downs
1 1/16 Miles

Delta Jackpot Articles:

Other Kentucky Derby related news: