Updated on 11/17/2012 11:50AM

Delta Downs: Breeders' Cup winner Hightail comes back quick in Jackpot

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Tom Keyser
D. Wayne Lukas will stretch Hightail out to 1 1/16 miles in the Delta Downs Jackpot off his win in the six-furlong Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint.

Hightail will be the first 2012 Breeders’ Cup winner to run back when he faces a field of nine in Saturday’s Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot. Entries for the 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds were taken on Wednesday. Hightail drew post 5 just a few hours before he was to arrive at the Vinton, La., track aboard a flight bringing several Southern California- and Kentucky-based horses for Saturday’s card of eight stakes worth $2.2 million.

Hightail won the $454,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint at Santa Anita in his last start Nov. 2. He was turning back from 1 1/16 miles, and closed up the rail to edge Merit Man at 15-1. Rajiv Maragh was aboard Hightail, and he has the mount again Saturday for Bluegrass Hall and trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

“Hightail ran a very nice Breeders’ Cup race and we were going to wait and give him a little break, but in the days following the race he was so sharp and so full of himself we decided to go,” said Lukas. “It may jump up and bite us, but he’s doing awfully well and he’s probably a better horse at a mile and a sixteenth.”

[DELTA JACKPOT: Get PPs, watch full Saturday card live]

Lukas said Hightail’s six-furlong start in the Breeders’ Cup should serve as a nice lead-in for the added distance of the Jackpot. The race, which will be run on a six-furlong track, is around two turns. Hightail won his maiden in the Breeders’ Cup, one start after finishing a close sixth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland.

The Jackpot will go as the seventh race Saturday on an 11-race program that has a special daytime post of 1:15 p.m. Central. The Jackpot is the final leg of a $100,000-guaranteed pick four that has a 50-cent minimum. The all-stakes sequence begins in the fourth race with the $70,000 Orleans, and continues with the $150,000 Delta Mile and the Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Downs Princess. The Jackpot is scheduled to go off at 4:15 p.m.

Hightail is not the lone 2012 Breeders’ Cup alum in the field Saturday. Know More, a Grade 2 winner who finished a troubled 13th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 3, drew post 7 for the Jackpot. Both horses raced without Lasix in their last start as part of a new policy instituted by the Breeders’ Cup, but they will be back on Lasix for the Jackpot.

Know More goes for J. Paul Reddam, trainer Doug O’Neill, and jockey Mario Gutierrez, the same team that won this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness with I’ll Have Another. O’Neill will also send out Goldencents, who races as a separate interest. The runner-up in the Grade 1 Champagne in his last start Oct. 6, Goldencents was made the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the Jackpot. Kevin Krigger will be aboard from post 9. Both of the O’Neill trainees were flying in Wednesday from Southern California.

The complete Jackpot field from the rail with riders and morning-line odds is: Bern Identity, Paco Lopez, 7-2; Heaven’s Runway, Carlos Marquez, 20-1; Central Banker, Miguel Mena, 6-1; Mylute, Gerard Melancon, 15-1; Hightail, Maragh, 9-2; Itsmyluckyday, Angel Serpa, 8-1; Know More, Gutierrez, 4-1; Show Some Magic, Richard Eramia, 20-1; and Goldencents, Krigger, 5-2.

The Princess, for 2-year-old fillies at a mile, also drew nine starters. The field from the rail with riders is Rose to Gold, Paco Lopez; Floral Sky, Miguel Mena; Madame Cactus, Richard Eramia; Touch Magic, Jesus Rios; Cayllano, Gerard Melancon; Salamera, Angel Castillo; Cloudy in Sandiego, Terry Thompson; Unhedged, Diego Saenz; and Sittin At the Bar, Mark Guidry.

Sittin At the Bar is cross-entered in the $150,000 Jewel for 2-year-old fillies bred in Louisiana.

The forecast for Saturday is favorable, with sunny skies and a high of 68 degrees expected, according to weather.com.

Daily Racing Form will have live streaming video of the Jackpot card at DRF.com. The races will also be shown on HRTV and TVG, with TVG host Gino Buccola to be at Delta.

The Jackpot will also be broadcast live on Sirius XM Radio, on Sirius Channel 93 and XM Channel 209. Chris McCarron, Bill Finley, and Dave Johnson will be broadcasting from Vinton.