Classic Empire (Pioneerof the Nile) wins The Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland
Nominations for the 14th running of the $ 1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot (Gr. 3) closed on Saturday with 168 potential starters for the Saturday, November 19 contest for 2-year-olds. A maximum of 10 starters are allowed for the 1 1/16-mile race to be run on a dirt surface. Click here for a complete list of nominees.
In recent years, the Jackpot has helped launch the careers of race winners Goldencents, a two-time Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile champion (G1), and Exaggerator, who captured this year’s Santa Anita Derby (G1), Preakness Stakes (G1) and Haskell Invitational (G1).
“We are extremely pleased with the list of nominees for this year’s $ 1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot,” said Steve Kuypers, Vice President and General Manager of Delta Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel. “Exaggerator’s career really took off after his Jackpot win last year and the race has received even more attention this time around.
Boyd Gaming and Delta Downs are very proud of the entire Jackpot Day program and we thank all the trainers who have nominated horses for this tremendous event.”
Some of the nation’s most prominent trainers have nominated horses to the $ 1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot this year including Triple Crown winner Bob Baffert, Todd Pletcher, Doug O’Neill, D. Wayne Lukas, Mark Casse, Steve Asmussen, Dale Romans, Kenneth McPeek and Kiaran McLaughlin among others.
The most accomplished horse on this year’s nomination list is Classic Empire from the barn of Mark Casse. The son of Pioneerof the Nile, who sired Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland in his most recent start and boasts a record of three wins from four starts overall. His only defeat came in the Hopeful (Gr. 1) at Saratoga when he wheeled at the start and unseated jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Classic Empire has earned $ 385,920 during his brief career which ranks second to the top earner among this year’s Jackpot nominees, Three Rules. The Jose Pinchin trainee is undefeated and has earned $ 680,640 through the first five starts of his career, which have all come at Gulfstream Park. The Florida-bred son of Gone Astray comes off a sweep of the Florida Sire Stakes series of races which culminated in the $ 500,000 In Reality on October 1.
Other horses of note on the Jackpot nomination list this year include Gunnevera, who ran fifth to Classic Empire in the Breeders’ Futurity after taking the Saratoga Special (Gr. 2) in his previous start; Tip Tap Tapizar, who won the Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park before finishing second in the Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs last weekend; and Syndergaard, who won the Funny Cide Stakes at Saratoga before finishing second by just a nose in the Gr. 1 Champagne at Belmont Park last time out.
Delta Downs fans will have their eye on Line Judge in this year’s Jackpot after he scored an impressive victory in last Saturday’s Jean Lafitte, which serves as the major local prep race for the season’s richest offering. Joe Sharp conditions Line Judge, who receives first preference to enter the Jackpot by virtue of his third consecutive win last weekend.
Nominees to the $ 1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot will be pared down on Tuesday, November 1 when pre-entries are taken in the racing office. Late Nominations will be accepted until pre-entries close on the same date. The supplemental nomination fee is $ 10,000. To make a supplemental nomination to the race, contact racing secretary Matt Crawford or stakes coordinator Mohammed Ali Khan at 337-589-9008 or 800-589-7441, extension 1200.
The $ 1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot is part of the ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ series, which includes 35 stakes races leading up to next year’s big race at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 6. The top four finishers in this year’s Jackpot will be awarded points on a 10-4-2-1 scale toward a possible starting position in the first leg of the Triple Crown.
Overall, the Jackpot Day program will feature 11 races including eight stakes and more than $ 2.3 million in total purse money. The card will have a special first post time of 1:45 pm Central Time with the featured race going off at approximately 4:45 pm.
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