Saturday is Delta Jackpot Day at Delta Downs
Delta Downs will showcase the biggest card of the season on Saturday when the $1,000,000 Delta Jackpot headlines a stakes filled card. Ten two year olds will contest the mile and one sixteenth event that is one of the first races for them to try and get points for the Kentucky Derby. Rise Up is the top local hope as he’s coming off a huge six and one half length victory in the Jean Laffite Stakes at Delta a few weeks back. Rise Up should be close up to the pace early on and is already a multiple stakes winner, something nobody else in the field can say. Casiguapo is the only runner in the field who is Grade 1 placed, by virtue of his second place finish behind Strong Mandate in the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga. He was fourth in the Champagne Stakes last time out, also a Grade 1 event, so he should appreciate the slight class drop to the Grade 3 Jackpot.
Coastline is coming off a win in the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs last time and he’s put up very solid speed figures in his last two races. Shaun Bridgmohan will make the journey to Delta to ride Coastline who is trained by Mark Casse. Coastline will be making his first start over a bullring style track, but his tactical speed should help him avoid trouble on the tighter turns. Big Bazinga has had great success over the synthetic at Woodbine, just missing last time out in the Grade 3 Grey Stakes. Big Bazinga rallied from eleventh to win his maiden race and then tried to go wire to wire in the Grey Stakes, getting caught in the final yards. If he can handle the main track, he’s certainly a player.
The Grade 3 Delta Princess will go off just before the Jackpot, and as always drew a competitive and solid field. Miss Behaviour took home the Grade 2 Matron this fall at Belmont and she’s less than a length away from being undefeated. Right to her outside will be Bahnah who is a multiple stakes winner herself. Bahnah does have a little local advantage, as she got a spin around the Delta Downs oval, scoring in the My Trusty Cat Stakes by four emphatic lengths. Concave is coming off a big defeat in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, however that day she had to check sharply and was out of the race after having to dodge a fallen runner at the three-eighths pole.
Delta Downs will get underway with a special early first post time of 2:15pm EST.
BetPTC.com Selections for the Delta Jackpot
- Big Bazinga
- Rise Up
Longshot: Rum Point
BetPTC.com Selections for the Delta Princess
- Miss Behaviour
BetPTC.com Selections for the Delta Mile
- Agent Di Nozzo
- Grand Contender
Longshot: Decisive Moment
Fair Grounds opens up on Friday
Fair Grounds is one of the best wintertime meetings and gets underway on Friday with a special evening card of racing that gets underway at 4pm EST. Racing will be run all winter long on a Thursday through Sunday schedule, with first post each racing day at 2pm EST. As always, the headlining event of the season is run on March 29th, which is Louisiana Derby Day. The $1,000,000 race is the headliner of a card loaded with four Grade 2 events. Louisiana Champions Day will be run on December 14th and once the new year hits, the road to the Kentucky Derby will feature the Lecomte, the Risen Star and then finally the Louisiana Derby.
Saturday will feature the first stakes event of the season with the Mr. Sulu Stakes at a mile on the grass. String King will likely be a big favorite as he’s always very tough in state-bred stakes events in Louisiana. He’s 3 for 7 over the Fair Grounds grass and dominated this race last year. Midnight Heist on the outside could be a sneaky player in this race as he has some good early speed and his grass form has been sharp in recent starts.
BetPTC.com Selections for the Mr. Sulu
- String King
- Midnight Heist
- Sadie’s Soldier
Huge Sunday card at Zia Park
Zia Park will offer up the biggest card of the season on Sunday, when the $300,000 Zia Park Oaks and the $200,000 Zia Park Derby headline a stakes loaded card. Unusual Way was given the role of morning line favorite in the Oaks and she has some New Mexico experience, as she was second in the Sunland Park Oaks behind Midnight Lucky, who was a monster winner that day. Unusual Way has been competing on the grass in her recent starts, so she’ll be returning to the main track on Sunday. Oscar Party was second in the Indiana Oaks before heading out to California where she ran fifth in the Autumn Miss Stakes at Santa Anita. David Flores will make the journey to New Mexico to ride Oscar Party for trainer James Cassidy. Gold Medal Dancer might be coming into the Oaks off the best race, as she was second and just missed by a nose in the Remington Park Oaks. She’s well travelled but has struggled in her stakes tries until the Remington Park Oaks, which was a breakthrough effort.
The $200,000 Zia Park Derby drew nine runners including Broadway Empire who is the heavy 4/5 favorite. Broadway Empire won the Oklahoma Derby two starts back, beating the heavily favored Departing. He threw a clunker in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, but now that he gets some class relief he could be tough once again. Carve was on the Kentucky Derby trail back in the spring, but after a break he found himself running third in the Oklahoma Derby in his return. If the pace gets quick up front, Carve could be the horse who rolls home late.
BetPTC.com Selections for the Zia Park Oaks
- Gold Medal Dancer
- Sister Ginger
- Oscar Party
Longshot: I Am Miss Brown
BetPTC.com Selections for the Zia Park Derby
- Broadway Empire
- Real Heat
Longshot: For Cash
Fourteen set to get in the River City Handicap at Churchill Downs
The Grade 3 River City Handicap at Churchill drew an overflow field of 15 horses, 14 of which will make it into the body of the field for the 9 furlong grass event. Daddy Nose Best is the high weight at 118 pounds and comes into the race with three straight wins over the grass. He was fourth in the Firecracker Handicap behind Wise Dan earlier this year and there are certainly no Wise Dan’s in this group. Coalport was also behind Wise Dan when he finished fifth in the Shadwell Mile. Prior to that Coalport had won two in a row, including a stakes win at Kentucky Downs over the grass. Coalport is however 0 for 2 over the Churchill Downs grass. Skyring drew the far outside post, but when he’s at his best he’s on the lead, so don’t be surprised if he sends from the outside draw to try and get the lead. Keep Up is the defending champion in this race and closed from tenth when he did win this race last season. He closed from ten lengths back last season and will look to do it again over a surface he loves.
BetPTC.com Selections for the River City
- Keep Up
Longshot: Grand Arch
Saturday Stakes Action at BetPTC.com
Race 8 Real Quiet Stakes 7:05pm EST
Race 7 Bobby Bricker Memorial 3:48pm EST
Race 9 River City Handicap 4:37pm EST
Race 3 Louisiana Legacy Stakes 3:12pm EST
Race 4 Sam’s Town Stakes 3:44pm EST
Race 5 Delta Mile Stakes 4:13pm EST
Race 6 Delta Downs Princess Stakes 4:43pm EST
Race 7 Delta Downs Jackpot 5:15pm EST
Race 8 Treasure Chest Stakes 5:43pm EST
Race 9 Louisiana Jewel Stakes 6:15pm EST
Race 10 Orleans Stakes 6:45pm EST
Race 5 Mr. Sulu Stakes 3:55pm EST
Race 3 Cactus Flower Stakes 3:55pm EST
Race 6 Arizona Breeders’ Futurity 5:29pm EST
Race 7 Cactus Wren stakes 6:00pm EST
Race 8 Arizona Breeders’ Futurity 6:31pm EST
Race 8 Glorious Song Stakes 4:26pm EST
Race 10 NM QH Filly and Mare Championship 6:06pm EST