11/16/2016 4:26PM

Casse takes two shots at Delta Downs Jackpot

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Churchill Downs/Coady Photography
Thirstforlife is one of two Mark Casse runners entered in Saturday's Delta Downs Jackpot.

Delta Downs has been something of a hot spot for trainer Mark Casse through the years. Tepin won the first stakes race of her career in the track’s Grade 3 Princess in 2013, and Turf War dead-heated for the win in its signature event, the Grade 3, $1 million Jackpot, in 2007.

There have been other Delta stakes wins for the barn, too, and Casse will attempt to add to his numbers Saturday when he sends out Thirstforlife and Our Stormin Norman in the Jackpot.

The 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds will anchor a card of eight stakes worth $2.3 million. The program is the richest of the season at Delta, which is located just across the border from Texas in the small town of Vinton, La.

“They always kind of lure me in,” Casse said of Delta. “It’s a nice place. They give away a lot of money. What’s the old story? If you build it, they will come. If they put the money up, they will come.”

Thirstforlife enters the Jackpot off a wire-to-wire win in a first-level allowance Oct. 20 at Keeneland.

“Last race, we weren’t planning on being on the lead, but he was on the lead and he showed a lot of gameness,” Casse said.

“The race is better than it looks on paper.”

:: Delta Jackpot: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live

Thirstforlife earned a modest Beyer Speed Figure of 69, but Casse noted that the runner-up, Just Move On, returned in his next start to win a first-level allowance at Churchill Downs with a Beyer of 81.

“We thought he deserved a chance,” Casse said of targeting the Jackpot with Thirstforlife.

Thirstforlife, who is by the stallion Stay Thirsty, has long been well regarded by Casse.

“He’s a horse with a huge pedigree,” said Casse. “He’s a half to Cavorting.”

Cavorting, a multiple Grade 1 winner, has compiled career earnings of more than $2 million.

Our Stormin Norman enters the Jackpot off a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 88, earned for his wire-to-wire win in a maiden special weight at seven furlongs Oct. 23 at Keeneland. It’s the best Beyer Figure in the Jackpot.

Our Stormin Norman will be looking for his first two-turn win on Saturday.

“His last race was huge,” Casse said. “We’re hoping his speed will carry down there. We know speed normally is pretty important [at Delta].”

Julien Leparoux has the mount on Our Stormin Norman, while Florent Geroux will be aboard Thirstforlife.

The Jackpot will be a final leg of an all-stakes pick four that runs on races 4-7. There will be a minimum guaranteed pool of $200,000. Other races making up the sequence are the Delta Mile, the Sam’s Town, and the Grade 3, $400,000 Delta Downs Princess. There will be a reduced takeout of 12 percent on the pick four. Delta’s card will start at 1:45 p.m. Central and the program will be streamed live at DRF.com.