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Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Pondering the Derby trail while wondering how Plax's thigh is feeling and thanking the Big Guy (*pointing upward*) for the Jags' Matt Jones' second half performance last night leading me (and my silent partner) to the eighth and final playoff berth....Eureka!

Friday night the Boyd Gaming's Delta Jackpot Stakes (G3) gets it all rolling with a big fat purse of $750K ($450K to the winner) and graded stakes earnings credit, which should just about guarantee a starting gate at Churchill Downs come early next May. EquiSpace favorite (#4 Terrain) is looking for some Derby cred while he takes on another early favorite of mine, West Side Bernie (#5) over 1 1/16th on the dirt at Delta Downs in Vinton, Louisiana. DD is a modest little racetrack which doesn't have much history, the Jackpot has been around since 2002 (ironically, the same year that the slot machines arrived). According to Horse Racing Coast to Coast: The Travelers Guide to the Sport of Kings, "in its first two weeks, gamblers fed the casino $7.9 million. This sum was so far beyond the projected figure that money-handling complications temporarily closed the doors." Holy cow, when does that happen! We're making too much money, let's close the doors! It appears the purse has come down as it was a $1M purse in the past and has been lowered to $750K for the 2008 edition.

Past winners of the Jackpot include Z Humor and Turf War (Dead Heat - 2007), Birdbirdistheword (2006) and Texcess (2004). 2005 Kentucky Derby runnerup at 71-1 Closing Argument, finished second in 2004 as another competitor in this race. The highest winning beyer was the initial 2002 winner Outta Here with a 98, followed by last year's dead heaters at 96. The 2005 race was cancelled due to Hurricane Katrina.

Terrain and WSB join eight other entrants, including stakes winners Big Drama, Kick On, and Trinity Magic in one of the richest juvenile contests on the Road to the Roses trail. We'll look at the race a little closer in the coming days.

I'll leave you tonight with one of the challenges I deal with every day at work. It is one of the best quotes I have heard in a long time and of course, has absolutely nothing to do with horse racing....

"Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It separates us from the animals...except the weasel."

~Homer Simpson



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