12/10/2007 12:00AM

Good head start to Derby trail

EmailWith a good chunk of graded change now under their belts, the top three finishers from Friday night's Grade 3, $1 million Delta Jackpot will be freshened before targeting a variety of Kentucky Derby preps. Z Humor and Turf War, who dead-heated for the win, each earned $400,000 on Friday, while Golden Yank, who was a neck back in third, picked up $100,000.

Z Humor, the race favorite who tracked a fast pace and held his ground along the rail, has shipped back to Payson Park in Florida. Third in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park in October, he could see more stakes action in the mid-South, according to his trainer, Bill Mott.

"He could run in New Orleans," he said. "We're going to stay eligible for everything. It could be Arkansas. He could be a good horse for some of those races there. I think with a horse like him, we'll take him as far as he wants to go. But the Derby preps would be important to us. We'll try to win as much as we can and hope we're in good shape for the Derby and hope we can participate in that, too."

Turf War, who trailed the field early in the Jackpot, was carried eight wide into the stretch and then closed fast to finish on even terms with Z Humor. They each earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 96.

"He showed me the other day that he has a tremendous turn of foot when you ask him to go," said Mark Casse, who trains Turf War.

Casse said Turf War will ship from Fair Grounds to Ocala, Fla., on Wednesday.

"He's going to have a 30-day rest," he said, "and then we'll map out probably a three-race schedule that, if he were to do well, would get us to the Derby. That will be our main goal.

"We'll look for a race that gets us to the Lane's End, and then we'll go from there."

The Grade 2, $500,000 Lane's End will be run at Turfway Park on March 22.

Golden Yank is also being freshened, according to trainer Gary Thomas.

"I'm going to give him five or six weeks; three or four weeks of nothing and start back," said Thomas. "We'll probably look at the races at Oaklawn, and maybe the Louisiana Derby."

By the Light eyes Silverbulletday

By the Light, the unbeaten filly who won her two-turn debut in the $300,000 Delta Princess on the Jackpot undercard, is based at Fair Grounds with trainer Richard Dutrow. The Grade 3, $200,000 Silverbulletday, a 1 1/16-mile race at Fair Grounds on Feb. 9, is a possible next start for her, Dutrow said.

"That's what I think would be the most logical spot," said Dutrow. "We wouldn't have to ship her. I've got to check out California. I've got to check out Oaklawn. So unless something comes up a whole lot more interesting, it looks like that's what we might do."

By the Light had raced exclusively against New York-breds heading into the Princess, including a stakes win over colts. She was explosive at Delta, stalking the pace, then rolling to a 5 1/2-length win.

"I was thrilled," said Dutrow. "I really don't know what her best game is right now. I would like to keep trying her around two turns because everybody that gets one that can run, they want to see how far they can go."

By the Light earned a Beyer of 81.