11/20/2010 11:41AM

Kennedy Road, Discovery, Mrs. Revere, Hollywood Prevue


With graded earnings being necessary in order to earn a berth in the Kentucky Derby starting gate, the $600,000 first prize of today's Delta Jackpot is widely called the "golden ticket" to Louisville for one in-form juvenile. Looking back on previous Delta Jackpot winners, however, that's not necessarily the truth.

2006 (first year as a graded race):  Birdbirdistheword (1-12 record after the Jackpot, ran in the American Turf instead of the Derby)
2007:  Turf War, Z Humor (Dead-Heat) (Turf War went 0-6 after the Jackpot and didn't contest the Derby) (Z Humor went 2-24 after the Jackpot and finished fourteenth in the Derby).
2008:  Big Drama (4-10 after the Jackpot, did not run in the Derby)
2009:  Rule (1-2 after the Jackpot, did not run in the Derby)

Only one of the five thoroughbreds that received said "golden ticket" took up a spot in the Derby starting gate the following spring.  Remember that the Triple Crown trail is a long and winding road full of pitfalls, form reversals, and injuries.  The Delta Jackpot purse money may bring ease of mind to the owner of a prospective Derby runner, but the horse still must take them to Louisville, and we have a long, long way to go before Triple Crown time.

I must admit that I don't have a very strong opinion in this year's Jackpot.  I will try to beat the morning line favorite, Blue Laser, as he'll try dirt for the first time.  The three runners I'll use in multi-race wagers (in order of preference) are Bug Juice, Rush Now, and Sweet Ducky.  Perhaps Bug Juice can make the early lead and keep on going although the additional distance is a worry.  It's not a race I'll play with much gusto, if at all.  As usual, let price be your guiding light.

I do have some stronger opinions elsewhere this weekend.

Kennedy Road (Woodbine - Race 7):

Fatal Bullet is the deserving favorite in the Kennedy Road based on his vaunted early speed and strong back class, but he hasn't won a race in 2010, and hasn't gained ground from the stretch call to the wire in his last six races.  Ever since being blitzed by Hollywood Hit in the Grade 3 Vigil Stakes on May 9, Fatal Bullet has looked vulnerable.  Now, he'll get a nice class drop in the Kennedy Road, but I'll try to top him with a longer-priced contender. 
Signature Red is capable of putting up a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure on his best day (he earned three of them earlier this year), and it seems like he's rounding back into his best form.  In his most recent race, the allowance prep for the Kennedy Road contested over a closer-friendly polytrack, Signature Red prompted the pace from the five path, raced in the four path on the far turn, took the lead in upper stretch, and battled to the wire to finish second behind late-running Field Commission.  Considering the ground loss, it was a strong effort and he's come back to work a quick five-furlongs on November 13.  Perhaps Fatal Bullet's tactical advantage will give him too much of an edge, but Signature Red should be running a little bit in the stretch.
Selections:  Signature Red, Ravalo, Fatal Bullet

Discovery (Aqueduct - Race 8):

I prefer not to play horses off horrible recent running lines, but I'm going to give Stormy Majesty one more chance in the nine-furlong Discovery at the Big A.  In his most recent start, the Empire Classic for older New York-breds, Stormy Majesty was bumped at the break before being hung out to dry from the four path throughout.  It wasn't encouraging to see him falter to the very back of the pack in the stretch, but he didn't get a good trip at all.  His previous race, the Star of Cozzene for open three-year-olds, was pretty good.  That afternoon, he tracked the pace inside, angled five wide turning for home, and finished evenly behind Colizeo, a colt that returned to finish third in the Grade 3 Ack Ack Handicap behind the promising Apart.  Stormy Majesty won the Albany around two turns at this distance so perhaps getting another opportunity to stretch his legs around multiple bends will spur the necessary improvement needed for him to win the Discovery. 
Whatever the result, this year's Discovery looks like a wide-open race with all seven entrants in with a chance. 
Selections:  Stormy Majesty, Teaks North, Al Muhtasib

Mrs. Revere (Churchill Downs - Race 9):

After being scratched at the gate on August 16, Gitchee Goomie has raced in excellent form.  She rallied from last over a speed-favoring Saratoga inner turf course to just get nosed out on the wire in an entry-level statebred allowance on September 6, and then finished third in the Grade 1 Garden City when wheeled back on only 12 days rest.  In her most recent effort, the open Topicount Stakes on October 29, Gitchee Goomie ran her last three-eighths in 34.98 (last eighth in 11.83) to hold off the late-kickers. 
The Mrs. Revere is obviously a tougher spot than the Topicount, but Gitchee Goomie may appreciate the slight turnback in distance, and she should get some speed to attack in this spot.  I'll use her along with Aruna.  A perfect 2-2 in the United States, Aruna received a nice ride and a good trip to win the $100,000 Pebbles at Belmont on October 11.
Selections:  Gitchee Goomie, Aruna, Wild Mia

Hollywood Prevue (Hollywood Park - Race 8):

I think that Premier Pegasus is the controlling speed in the Hollywood Prevue, and I do believe that the half-brother to Norfolk winner Street Hero has another furlong in him.  He looked pretty good in winning the Jack Goodman Stakes at six furlongs as the pacesetter was engaged on the far turn only to turn back his main challenger in the final furlong.  If Alonso Quinonez can get him to settle on the front end, he could be long gone when the real running begins. 
Selections:  Premier Pegasus, High Level Jeff, Industry Leader

More importantly, who do you like this weekend?  I want to know.