10/29/2013 11:57AM

Delta: Rise Up stamps himself prime prime contender for Jackpot

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Rise Up earned a career-best 88 Beyer Speed Figure for his win in the Jean Lafitte.

Rise Up is the early favorite for the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot for 2-year-olds after dominating the Vinton, La., track’s prep for the race, the $200,000 Jean Lafitte, last Saturday. Trainer Tom Amoss said Rise Up, who shipped in from Churchill Downs, is now based at Fair Grounds in New Orleans. The 1 1/16-mile Jackpot will be run Nov. 23.

Rise Up came into the Jean Lafitte off a sixth-place finish in the Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill, a Sept. 7 race in which he dueled and tired. In the Jean Lafitte, he stalked the pace, moved to the lead through six furlongs in 1:11, and sailed home by 6 1/2 lengths. Rise Up covered the mile on a fast track in 1:38.20, and earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 88.

“I was pleased with his race,” Amoss said. “The big question was how well he would relax off his first try at a route at Churchill Downs in the Iroquois. That didn’t go well. We worked a lot in practice on getting him to relax. It doesn’t always transfer in the afternoon.”

But it did in the Jean Lafitte, Amoss said, adding he is looking forward to the Jackpot.

Rise Up was a private purchase two starts ago by Paul and Andrena Van Doren. He had made three starts prior to the Iroquois, winning a maiden special weight on a synthetic surface at Presque Isle in June, and the $100,000 Mountaineer Juvenile at six furlongs in August.

“We thought he was very impressive in his dirt win at Mountaineer,” Amoss said. “We thought he had the look of a horse that could go on in terms of distance.”

Rise Up is a son of Rockport Harbor.

Amoss said Gerard Melancon, who rode Rise Up in the Jean Lafitte, has the mount in the Jackpot.

Pre-entries for the race close Nov. 12.

Bahnah still eyes Princess

Bahnah, who finished first in the $150,000 My Trusty Cat at Delta Downs on Friday night but was disqualified and placed fifth in the track’s prep for the Grade 3, $500,000 Princess, is still on target for the race, said her trainer, Bret Calhoun. The Delta Downs Princess, for 2-year-old fillies at a mile, will share a card with the Jackpot on Nov. 23.

Bahnah was the 1-9 favorite in the My Trusty Cat on the strength of her dead-heat win in the Grade 3 Schuylerville at Saratoga in July. She dueled for much of Friday night’s seven-furlong race run around two turns. Into the final turn, Bahnah bumped with a rival attempting to advance along her inside, then cruised home by four lengths. After an inquiry, Bahnah was placed fifth. It was a painful pill to swallow for many, Calhoun noted, including handicappers, as well as owners Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch. Bahnah would have earned $90,000 had she not been disqualified. She went home with $4,500.

“She came out of it good,” Calhoun said. “Obviously, she doesn’t know she was taken down. So I’m sure she feels pretty good about herself . . . a lot better than I do about it.

“The good that came out of it is that we know she handles that track, and we know she can handle the two turns.”

Calhoun said Bahnah will now be based at Fair Grounds. For her effort in the My Trusty Cat she earned a Beyer Figure of 75.

Synapse closed from last for second in the My Trusty Cat, and was placed first after the disqualification of Bahnah. Andrew Leggio Jr., who trains Synapse, said she will now be pointed for the Princess.

“That’s what we’re heading towards right now,” said Leggio, who trains Synapse for Glen Warren.

Synapse won her maiden in the My Trusty Cat. She is out of the mare Sarah Lane’s Oates, a 15-time stakes winner who raced for breeder-owner Warren and was trained by Leggio.

“She reminds me of her mom because she would make a big run from the back,” Leggio said.

“I was tickled to see Synapse wasn’t stopping [in the My Trusty Cat]. The race coming up is a mile, and I think she’ll appreciate that.”

◗ Chris Warren, who oversees racing operations at Delta, said he is now serving in the same capacity at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, La. Both tracks are owned by Boyd Gaming. Evangeline is currently operating a meet for Quarter Horses.