11/19/2013 3:00PM

Delta Downs: Jackpot draws 10, including O'Neill's promising Rum Point

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Barbara D. Livingston
Rum Point can give trainer Doug O'Neill his second straight win in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot on Saturday.

A year after winning the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot with Goldencents, trainer Doug O’Neill will be back in Vinton, La., on Saturday with Rum Point. The horse was one of 10 entered in the 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds that was drawn Tuesday.

The field includes Coastline, the winner of the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs who was installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite; Rise Up, the 3-1 second choice off his win in the local prep, the $200,000 Jean Lafitte; and Casiguapo, runner-up in the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga.

The Jackpot is the centerpiece of a special afternoon program of eight stakes worth $2.25 million. The Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Downs Princess also was drawn Tuesday, with the one-mile race for 2-year-old fillies luring seven, including graded stakes winners Bahnah, Concave, and Miss Behaviour.

The Princess, which goes as the sixth race, and the Jackpot, the seventh, will be part of a $200,000-guaranteed pick four that runs on races 4-7.

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

O’Neill has long thought well of Rum Point, a maiden special weight winner at Del Mar whose best credential to date is a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. The horse arrived Monday night from his Southern California base after finishing 12th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.

“I think he’s a special colt,” O’Neill said. “He hasn’t shown up in a few of his races, but he’s shown up enough in the mornings that I really think he’s worthy of entry in a race like this. He’s got a great combination of speed and stamina, he has a lot of class, and he handles himself like a pro in the paddock – all characteristics that separate the good ones from the average ones.”

Goldencents was more accomplished coming into last year’s Jackpot as the runner-up to eventual champion Shanghai Bobby in the Grade 1 Champagne. Goldencents would go on to win the Santa Anita Derby and earlier this month became the second Jackpot winner, joining Big Drama, to capture a Breeders’ Cup race with his win in the Dirt Mile. O’Neill said the Jackpot can play an important role in a young horse’s development.

“For us on the West Coast, it gives us a chance to travel, and yet it’s not a long, long way,” O’Neill said. “But it gives you a chance to see how a horse handles getting out of their own barn. The track is very safe, knock on wood, and the prize money is great. It’s a good place to stick a toe in the water and see what a young horse” does.

Rum Point will break from post 5. He will be ridden by Mario Gutierrez, who won the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness for Rum Point’s owners, Reddam Racing, with I’ll Have Another.

The Jackpot field, from the rail with riders, is Whyruawesome, Eddie Martin Jr.; Coastline, Shaun Bridgmohan; Roman Unbridled, Kevin Smith; Mighty Brown, Miguel Mena; Rum Point, Gutierrez; Flat Gone, Diego Saenz; Rankhasprivileges, Robby Albarado; Casiguapo, Luis Saez; Big Bazinga, Rosie Napravnik; and Rise Up, Gerard Melancon.

Rum Point, who raced without Lasix last out, as stipulated by Breeders’ Cup policy, will be back on the diuretic Saturday.

The Princess field, from the rail with riders, is Tepin, Mena; Zip On, Albarado; Miss Behavior, Sheldon Russell; Bahnah, Napravnik; Synapse, Melancon; Concave, Gutierrez; and Appreciating, Bridgmohan.

There will be live video of the entire Jackpot program at DRF.com. In addition, the card will be simulcast to California in a new wrinkle, as Delta’s races are not normally simulcast into that state on Saturdays, track official Chris Warren said. Forecasters are calling for temperatures in the low 60s on Saturday, with a 50 percent chance of showers. First post is 1:15 p.m. Central.

liljock More than 1 year ago
Rum Point looked sharp this a.m. getting a feel for the surface. The son of Malibu Moon might not win Saturday but I'd say when distances stretch out next spring the classics are certainly a possibility.
liljock More than 1 year ago
May have to check and see which horses fit best for an off track if the weather forecast I'm getting is correct.
MD23 More than 1 year ago
Can anyone explain to me why Rum Point is so special? The answer to that question is no....because he's not.
Paul Aussenhofer More than 1 year ago
You're right! He's not, so far. All the writer is saying is that O'Neill thinks he may be. I'd he and the Reddam's are willing to pay the $$ to ship by all means do so. O'Neills name recognition and history with Goldencents (and I'll Have Another) will hopefully inflate the prices on the real contenders.
Paul Aussenhofer More than 1 year ago
Oops. If he and the Reddam's,
Gene More than 1 year ago
I think what O'Neill meant to say was "it gives us a chance to travel to a place where the testing isn't very strict"
Crystal David More than 1 year ago
Really? How do you know that? Do you work at the track or are you friends with Mr O'Neill? From where do you receive your privileged information? Surely you are not just making an unsubstantiated statement.....?!
Tom Fritzsche More than 1 year ago
O'Neil does have a reputation for "overages" so Gene's thinking isn't out of line. Relax
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
O'Neil has had some overages, but the reputation may not be as deserving as you think. Baffert, Assmussen, Hollendorfer, and Sadler all have many more drug violations than O'Neil.
Paul Aussenhofer More than 1 year ago
HC, you and I often disagree but on this is agree completely. But I would like to add one point. Whether in Ca or NY or Fla, I think the bigger the name (and reputation) the more the publicity over the violations. Unless you are at the track in question, you never hear much about smaller or less successful trainers violations (and breakdowns). But success puts a target on your back and the trainer under much more scrutiny. The Baffert's, Pletchers, Asmussens et. all have the success and this the scrutiny. This now includes O'Neill with his recent rise in sucess.
Paul Aussenhofer More than 1 year ago
One last ??. Does anyone know where you can get a summary of total violations vs total horses run in a year. Sadler, Baffert, O'Neill and Hollendorfer are 1-4 in horses run in So. Cal so I would love to see the %s of violations/ horses run. The same would be true for Asmussen who is #1 nationally in horses run as well as Pletcher and a few others. I think the % would be allot lower than many think, especially compared to some high profiled claiming trainers.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Sorry Paul I just saw this. Here is the latest list published Oct 31 2013 by NY Times by Joe Drape. It shows the total number of violations and the frequency. Title is "Breeders Cup: Trainers aren't helping as drugs damage sport." http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/01/sports/industrys-drug-issue-is-one-that-trainers-can-address-instead-of-avoiding.html?ref=joedrape&_r=0
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Paul, I used a link and DRF may have deleted it under review. Go to NY Times, article by Joe Drape, "Breeders Cup: Trainers aren't helping as drugs damage sport." Published Oct 31 2013, it's the latest list. It might surprise you, Pletcher is very good in all categories, low total and low percentage. Assmussen is highest in total and also high in percentage.
TheRaiderFan More than 1 year ago
Testing is pretty strict in the Breeders Cup/Kentucky Derby/Preakness.. O'neill hasn't had a problem winning there