Delta Downs, Race 7, Saturday, The Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot
Two-year-olds, Purse $1,000,000, Dirt
Key Horse: Itsmyluckyday (8-1)
Due to a rule change that moves qualification criteria away from Graded earnings, the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot no longer has serious Kentucky Derby implications, but as a $1 million race it’s still well worth winning and this year’s running has duly attracted a field of nine two-year-olds from all parts of the country.
In terms of Performance Figures, the field is unsurprisingly led by Hightale, who came from nowhere to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint last time, earning a Performance Figure of 112. That run was just 15 days ago, however, and to us he looks a prime candidate to bounce. As such, we’re going to take the unusual route of leaving out a top-rated horse.
There are a couple of others among the likely short-priced runners who we see as vulnerable. Chief among them is morning line favorite Goldencents. He may have form that ties in with Shanghai Bobby, but when they met Goldencents was left alone in the lead yet was put away with complete authority by the subsequent Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner. With more competition for the lead this time, we see Goldencents as one likely to regress.
The horse we do like is the two-time Calder Stakes winner Itsmyluckyday. He has a strong profile for this race, as one with an ideal tractable running style, while he comes into the race with a pattern of gradually improving his Performance Figures with each start. The 63-day lay-off might be disconcerting to some, but it’s evident that Itsmyluckyday hasn’t missed any training, having six published workouts since his last race. There’s every reason to think he can keep improving, too. His sire Lawyer Ron definitely got better with age, while his dam won the first time she was stretched out to a route distance, and did so by four lengths at 17-1 odds. All the indicators point to another career-best performance for Itsmyluckyday, and his 8-1 morning line price looks very generous.