11/13/2012 3:49PM

Delta Downs: Central Banker likely to be overlooked in Jackpot

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Salamera, one of the top contenders in Saturday's $500,000 Delta Princess, arrived at Delta Downs without incident early Tuesday morning - a big improvement over how she shipped to California for her prior start.

Central Banker could start as fourth or fifth choice in the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot on Saturday despite having defeated an eventual Breeders’ Cup winner.

Central Banker will be seeking his third win from five starts in the Jackpot. His maiden score came in his turf debut at Saratoga when he edged Hightail, who went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint. Hightail is also expected for the Jackpot, a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds.

Central Banker placed in a turf stakes one start after his maiden win, then put himself in the Jackpot picture with a five-length win in a first-level allowance sprint at Churchill Downs on Oct. 28. It was the Churchill win that led the partnership of Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence to put up a $10,000 supplemental fee to make the horse eligible for the Jackpot.

“He ran so well going back to the dirt,” said trainer Al Stall Jr. “He was always a winner, the second the doors opened.”

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

Central Banker raced in fifth early in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint under Rosie Napravnik, then darted clear to earn a career-high Beyer Figure of 83. Miguel Mena has the mount Saturday. Central Banker will be making his two-turn debut in the Jackpot, and Stall said there are reasons to believe he will be effective at the trip.

“Rosie said he wasn’t pulling hard down the backside last time,” Stall said. “He just was in control perfectly, and that kind of tells me he’ll help himself going further.”

Central Banker has been settled in at Fair Grounds in New Orleans since his last start, and will van to Delta later this week, said Stall. Central Banker will bring with him a family history of success in Louisiana. Stall noted the horse is a half-brother to Gantry, a three-time stakes winner at Fair Grounds who also won the Grade 2 Smile Sprint earlier this year at Calder. Stall said it was in part because of Central Banker’s pedigree that he was put on turf for his second start, which came at Saratoga.

“Gantry has a track record at Belmont sprinting on the turf,” said Stall. “It made sense to put him on the grass.”

Delta officials are looking for at least nine starters in the Jackpot. In addition to Hightail and Central Banker, others they consider probable are Bern Identity, Know More, Goldencents, Itsmyluckyday, Heaven’s Runway, Show Some Magic, and Mylute. Tree of Life, winner of the $100,000 Barretts Juvenile at Fairplex who was pre-entered in the Jackpot, will not start, said an official with his owner, West Point Thoroughbreds.

Salamera arrives for Princess

The Jackpot will share a card with the Grade  3, $500,000 Delta Downs Princess. Salamera, one of the top choices in the mile race for 2-year-old fillies, rolled into the Delta stable area around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. She vanned in from Calder for what will be her first start since finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Chandelier at Santa Anita on Sept. 29.

“She got there fine,” said Rodolfo Garcia, who trains Salamera for Tanourin Stable. “She was in her feed tub and happy, and that’s always a good sign.”

And a relief for Garcia. Salamera did not seem to ship as well when she was flown to Southern California for the Chandelier. She was 5-1 in the Chandelier off the strength of her runner-up finish to Kauai Katie in the Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga, but finished a distant fifth, beaten 14 lengths by winner Executiveprivilege.

“The horse that I put on the plane Monday morning and the horse that arrived there Monday night were two different horses,” Garcia said. “I believe that she really didn’t recover well [from the travel]. When she went to Saratoga, we vanned her up there, 28 hours, and when she got there she was jumping and kicking. She was eating better at Saratoga. She really was a completely different horse at Saratoga and that gave me an indication she was a good shipper. But for some reason, the plane . . .

“They’re 2-year-olds. They’re babies, and each horse is different.”

The ship to Delta took 15 hours. The decision to target the race was due in large part to its rich purse, said Garcia, noting the Princess money is one of the best offerings for the division. The race could go with a full field of 10 as officials are also expecting Madame Cactus, Unhedged, Danalake, Cayllano, Rose to Gold, Floral Sky, Sittin at the Barn, Touch Magic, and perhaps Cloudy in Sandiego.