11/19/2013 3:00PM

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

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.