One of the most lucrative major stakes races for two-year old thoroughbreds takes place this Saturday afternoon with the running of the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes at Delta Downs Racetrack
This is the time of the year when we start to get our first really good look at this year's crop of Triple Crown contenders. The Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes is one if the first tests these top two-year-olds will face as part of their trip on the Kentucky Derby Trail. After breaking down the list of entries for this year's race, here are my top three choices to wheel together in a trifecta play.
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2016 Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes- Delta Downs
The Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes is a Grade 3 event open to two-year old thoroughbreds. It will be contested on the dirt track at Delta Downs over a distance of 1 1/16 miles and the total price purse for Saturday's main event has been set at $1 million.
The field for Saturday's top race on Delta Downs' card is shaping up to be a good one with 11 confirmed entries. My top choice to win from this list would be Thirstforlife as one of the most experienced juveniles in the field. Trained by Mark Casse with jockey Florent Geroux along for the ride, this two-year old Kentucky-bred colt comes into this race with the highest Horse Racing Nation rating in the field at 6.48.
He is coming off a victory in a recent Allowance race at Keeneland after finishing in the money in three of four previous events. His best run year-to-date was a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar over a distance of 6 ½ furlongs on Aug. 13.
Moving down the list, I have settled in on trainer Bob Baffert's Hot Sean as my second choice. He will be ridden by jockey Martin Pedroza coming off a recent second-place finish in a Maiden Special Weight race at Del Mar on Aug. 28. This was his only race as a juvenile and I really like the way he looked at a much shorter distance of 5 ½ furlongs. The hopes remain high for this two-year old Kentucky-bred colt that he can follow in the footsteps as another one of Baffert's top racing thoroughbreds.
Hot Sean is a pedigree of Flatter which goes all the way back to a progeny of famed racer Seattle Slew. Despite the relative lack of racing experience, he has already caught the eye of HRN with an opening rating of 4.84.
There are a number of quality contenders to round out my trifecta pick for this race, but I am going with Pat On the Back as my third choice. This New York-bred two-year old has already earned a solid 5.45 rating from HRN aided by a recent victory in the non-grade Sleepy Hollow Stakes at Belmont on Oct. 22 over a distance of 1 mile. Trained by Kenneth McPeek and ridden by jockey Robby Albarado, he has now finished in the money in his last three events after posting a pair of fourth-place runs in Maiden Special Weight races at Saratoga to begin his racing career.
A pedigree of Congrats that also goes all the way back to Seattle Slew; he first caught bettor's eyes with a victory in the non-graded Aspirant Stakes at Finger Lakes in early September.
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