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Coastline has won two of three starts, including the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs (Photo courtesy of Reed Palmer Photography).

The 11th running of the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot is seventh in the series of 34 races that make up the 2013-14 "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series that awards points on first through fourth place finishes. If that isn't enough there is $1 million in prize money on the line for this year's edition, which features a field of 10, led by two exceptional recent stakes winners. Rise Up just won the precursor to this race, the Jean Lafitte Stakes, four weeks ago over the track in dominant fashion with a six and one-half length winning margin. Coastline won the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs one day later and he too is a talented colt who is still improving. The next best in terms of recent effort in top company might be Big Bazinga, who was beaten just a half-length when second in the Grade 3 Grey Stakes which was his most recent effort. Although just breaking his maiden, Rankhasprivileges was impressive last month as the win came in his debut and in a two-turn race, so he may be able to step up and run well with these. Mighty Brown finished second in the Jean Lafitte and although beaten six and one-half lengths by Rise Up was seven lengths clear of the next horse. Flat Gone, Casiguapo, Roman Unbridled, Rum Point and Whyruawesome round out the field.

Coastline draws a ground saving inside post position for this two turn race whereas the other two main contenders get nine and ten posts and that single factor could be the difference between winning and losing the Delta Downs Jackpot. Coastline improved to a career best 101 Equibase Speed Figure when winning in October at Keeneland in his second career start. Although he regressed a bit to a 96 figure when victorious in the Street Sense Stakes in his most recent race, Coastline still won easily by three lengths and may have had more speed to offer. With jockey Shaun Bridgmohan aboard in the Jackpot the same as for both career wins, Coastline appears to have a slight edge among three strong contenders in this race.

Big Bazinga won a two-turn race with an impressive rally in his career debut after breaking slowly and starting last of 11. Testing his mettle in only the second start of his career, Big Bazinga led from the start and was just beaten in deep stretch by the highly regarded Ami's Holiday in the Grey Stakes. In the Grey, Big Bazinga earned a 97 that certainly can be repeated or improved upon in only the third start of his career. Even though Big Bazinga draws an outside post, there is potential for jockey Rosie Napravnik to get him to the lead and avoid losing ground on the first turn, from which point he might prove an elusive target on the front end and go all the way.

Rise Up has won three of five career starts. The most impressive of those wins came last month in the Jean Lafitte Stakes, the local prep for the Delta Jackpot. Having been privately purchased after his four length win in the Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes in August, Rise Up ran poorly and faded to sixth in the Iroquois Stakes in September. Rise Up then really turned things around with a career best 104 effort in the Jean Lafitte as he cruised to an easy six and one-half length win. Jockey Gerard Melancon was in the saddle for the first time in that win and rides Rise Up again so this colt has every right to run well enough to win the Jackpot.


Rise Up Mountaineer Juvie Coady

Photo courtesy of Coady Photography

The rest of the Delta Downs Jackpot field, with their best representative Equibase Speed Figures is Casiguapo (93), Flat Gone (81) Mighty Brown (93), Rankhasprivileges (87), Roman Unbridled (77), Rum Point (86) and Whyruawesome (86).

My Selections:


Big Bazinga

Rise Up

$1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes

Saturday, Race 7, Delta Downs, 5:15 p.m. ET

1 1/16 miles dirt, 2-year-olds







Whyruawesome (KY)

Eddie Martin Jr.


Anne Smith


Coastline (KY)

Shaun Bridgmohan


Mark Casse


Roman Unbridled (KY)

Kevin Smith


Chad Cook


Mighty Brown (KY)

Miguel Mena


Tim Ice


Rum Point (KY)

Mario Gutierrez


Doug O'Neill


Flat Gone (KY)

Diego Saenz


Keith Desormeaux


Rankhasprivileges (KY)

R. Albarado


K. McPeek


Casiguapo (KY)

Luis Saez


Mario Morales


Big Bazinga (KY)

R. Napravnik


K. Vassilieva


Rise Up (KY)

Gerard Melancon


Tom Amoss

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

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