Dec 05, 2008
Thru The Binoculars
By: JOHN PIESEN
BIG BUCKS ON THE BAYOU - DELTA JACKPOT PREVIEW
So much for a couple of racetrack rumors.
It was rumored that that NYRA next year will...
1) take a winter break, and 2) run a stakes-filled program in direct competition to the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita.
But when NYRA released its '09 stakes schedule on Wednesday, there was...
1) no winter break, and 2) no big stakes day opposite the Breeders' Cup.
In other words, it will be business as usual at the NYRA tracks in 2009.
NYRA did get one thing right. They re-named a stake -- the Aqueduct Handicap -- the Evening Attire to honor the popular 9-year-old who was retired last month.
On the other hand, the current inner track meet is not off to an especially auspicious start.
- Jockey Arroyo has been ruled off without giving a reason.
- Business is anemic...without a Pick Six carryover in sight.
- The first stake of the meet -- the Garland of Roses, scheduled for Saturday -- was scrapped due to lack of entries. Thus, for the first time in memory, there will be no Saturday stake at a NYRA track.
But all is not lost.
Gulfstream Park, which opens next month, is running an ad offering "select luxury boxes" which include the following:
- Six plush seats from where you presumably can actually see the races.
- A personal betting terminal.
- A private phone.
- Food service from two upscale nearby restaurants.
And... My personal favorite -- granite countertops.
I would assume such luxury comes free of charge because there is no mention of price in the ad.
Usually in this space on Friday, we discuss the Saturday stakes.
But this is an unusual weekend. With no Saturday stake in New York, and no major stakes nationally, we turn our attention -- as we do once a year -- to Friday night's big doings at Louisiana's Delta Downs.
The two big ones are the $750,000 Delta Jackpot for 2-year-old males, and the $500,000 Delta Princess for 2-year-old fillies.
The two little ones are the $50,000 Sam's Town for 3-year-olds, and the $50,000 Orleans for 3-year-old fillies.
The four races, which kick off at 8:47 Eastern, are packaged in a $100,000 guaranteed Pick Four.
One would think that Delta Downs, a seven-eighths of a mile oval with razor-sharp turns, would favor speed. But that is not the case. Closers win with regularity at Delta, especially it seems on Delta Jackpot Night.
We have had good luck hitting the Delta Pick Four in the past, so let's give it another shot. For just $15 I'll give you the Delta Pick Four with my choices to Win, and what horses to include in the exotics. Click Here for tonight's Pick-4, in the meantime, here's a preview.
Ten are entered in the seven-furlong Sam's Town at two-turns.
Tend, a Dynaformer colt from the Claiborne people, comes in off back-to-back scores at Keeneland and Fair Grounds, and looks tough chalk with jockey Albarado.
No Advantage has been keeping better company in the West Coast, and boasts top connections -- trainer O'Neill and jockey Valenzuela.
And, speaking of top connections, Coach Ryan, who has the best last-race Beyer (96), is owned by Louisville hoops coach Rick Pitino, and trained by Tom Amoss. In fact the gelding is named for Rick's son.
Coach Ryan hopefully will have a better night than the Louisville football team had Thursday night in central Jersey.
The morning-line person makes Just Jenda the 5-1 third choice against nine rivals in the one-mile Delta Princess.
In your dreams.
Unbeaten in two starts for Team Jones at Philadelphia Park by a combined 16 lengths, Just Jenda will be no more than 7-5 from the one-hole.
The Menifee filly, named for the granddaughter of owner Cindy Jones, and her husband, trainer Larry Jones, was vanned from Fair Grounds for this spot.
"She's the real deal," says Larry. "When Terry (Thompson) asks her, she just takes off. She'll be stepping up here, but we have a lot of confidence in her."
The salty competition includes C.S. Silk, a six-length winner of the Arlington Lassie for trainer Romans, and the pace-setter in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, and Livin Lovin, a four-length winner of the Tempted at Aqueduct for trainer Klesaris.
The respective jockeys are Albarado and Dominguez.
Southern Yankee beat some of these when winning the $100,000 My Trusty Cat over the racetrack at 16-1.
Seacrettina, who made the pace in that race, is trained by Joe Petalino, whose wife, the former Kelly O'Hara, was Alysheba's regular exercise rider and a NYRA press aide.
Incidentally, Delta this year sliced $250,000 from the $1 million Delta Jackpot, and added it to the Delta Princess purse.
There is a ton of early speed in the seven-furlong Orleans, so the long run to the first turn may separate the women from the girls.
Adhsilver missed in a three-way photo two back in a Keeneland grass stake, and is first-time PVal.
This is the first stake for Serrano, who won an optional-claimer over the track despite getting left from the one-hole.
As a 2-year-old, Dubit was second at 4-5 in the Astoria at Belmont, and third as the stick in the Colleen at Monmouth Park...and most recently an allowance winner at 4-5 at Remington Park.
The well-travelled filly will be ridden by Bridgmohan for Asmussen, who is a mere 1-for-19 at Delta during his record-breaking season.
Honest Pursuit makes her stakes debut for Overbrook Farm, trainer Stewart and jockey Desormeaux.
She just might be the best-bred filly in the world -- by Storm Cat out of Honest Lady, a daughter of Seattle Slew.
My Heavenly Sign, from Jones and Saez, is winless in four stakes tries, but otherwise 5-for-8. A shot at a price.
Despite the purse slash from $1 million, this looks like the deepest field ever for the mile and a 16th Delta Jackpot, which, last year, resulted in a dead heat between Turf War, who came from 30 lengths back, and Z Humor.
Terrain, a fast-closing fourth as my pick in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, will be favored under regular pilot Theriot. Before the BC, the Sky Mesa gelding won the Arlington Futurity (via DQ), and was second to Square Eddie in the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland.
Trinity Magic, 3-for-3 -- two of them stakes -- for Super Steve, clearly is the speed from inside.
Jockey Borel interrupts his vacation to return home for the mount, subbing for jockey Prado, who is in Japan to ride Tin Cup Chalice in the Japan Cup.
"Steve called me Monday, and offered me the mount," says Jerry Hissam, Borel's celebrity agent, "...and I wasn't about to say no.
"Calvin won three stakes last weekend at Churchill so you might as well strike while the iron is hot."
Big Drama (Coa) and Three Part Harmony (Albarado) finished one-two in a pair of six-figure stakes at Calder.
Kick On won the main Jackpot prep for Petalino, and gets the one-hole.
West Side Bernie, the Kentucky Cup Juvenile winner, and a closing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, has a bullet work over the track for trainer Breen,
and figures to be closing fastest under Elvis.
Mark Casse, the trainer of Turf War, runs an uncoupled entry of Skipadate (Melancon) and Stimulus Plan (Desormeaux).
As we said, this is a deep field.
Go get 'em Louisiana Hayride.
FRIDAY NIGHT I'M GOING FOR A HUGE PICK-4 SCORE ON
DELTA DOWNS JACKPOT NIGHT
Four Standout Races - $1.35 Million In Purses!
Friday night, in the Louisiana Delta, there is another pick-4 that I have some valuable info on, and I'm so excited I'm betting it myself, and hoping you'll join me
This popular racing series, is highlighted by the $750,000 Delta Jackpot Stakes for 2-year-olds and some of my racing friends are making their way down to Delta to try and grab the huge winner's check, and to virtually qualify in next year's Kentucky Derby.
Despite the purse slash from $1 million, this looks like the deepest field ever for the mile and a 17th Delta Jackpot, which, last year, resulted in a dead heat between Turf War, who came from 30 lengths back, and Z Humor, my choice.
You don't find many Breeders' Cup horses shipping to Delta Downs. But three-quarters of a million bucks makes for a super race wherever they play the game. And I KNOW how they play this game
The Pick-4 will also provide a chance for potential stars of the future to emerge as juvenile fillies will travel a mile on dirt in the $500,000 Delta Princess Stakes and the other two races are 7-furlong sprints for 3-year-old filles & mares and open 3YO.
I'm confident in my 1-2-3 finishers in all four races and am ready to make a little extra holiday spending money for a few of my best customers and myself.
Get My Top Recommendations For All Four Races
The Best Bet – Exacta – Trifecta
Two Pick-3's And the Pick- 4 - Just $15
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