11/19/2014 4:37PM

Jose Santos part of Golden Actor team for Delta Jackpot

Coady Photography
Hall of Fame jockey Jose Santos is an advisor for the connections of Delta Jackpot contender Golden Actor.

Golden Actor will have a Hall of Fame rider on his team Saturday when he runs in the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot. But the retired Jose Santos won’t be making his comeback on the horse. He has instead been serving as an adviser to owner Jaime Mejia, who races Golden Actor under the nom de course Thoroughbred Champion Training Center.

Golden Actor will start as one of the top choices in the Jackpot, a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds, following his sweeping, 4 1/2-length win in the $200,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs on Oct. 25. He was making his first start against winners in the one-mile race following a maiden special weight score at Gulfstream Park West. Golden Actor was a $4,000 supplement, and by virtue of his Jean Lafitte win got first preference into the Jackpot, which was oversubscribed when entries were taken Tuesday. The horse has remained at Delta to train for the race and has thrived with a pair of bullet half-mile works in 47.80 seconds, Santos said.

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“The Saturday before last it was the best work out of 84 horses, I believe,” said Santos, who won the 2003 Kentucky Derby aboard Funny Cide.

Ignacio Roncancio trains Golden Actor for Mejia. Santos met the owner in the 1970s.

“I went to ride in Colombia in 1978,” Santos said. “I rode for his father and his family. They used to own horses. It was a brand new racetrack called Hipodromo de los Andes. Three or four years ago, Jamie moved over here and bought a farm in Ocala. He owns a small racetrack in Colombia.”

Santos said Jose Gallego, the regular rider aboard Golden Actor, was a successful rider at Mejia’s track in Colombia. Gallego has spent the past month at Delta with Roncancio and Golden Actor.

“Jaime is on his way over there,” Santos said of Delta in southwestern Louisiana. “He drove from Ocala all the way over there because he’s bringing his whole family.”

Golden Actor is a son of Curlin and a half-brother to Big Apple Daddy, a multiple stakes winner of $459,483.

“He’s very well-bred,” Santos said. “We are very optimistic. His race in the Jean Lafitte, he won with style. He won going away. I think right now, he’s a fitter horse and he’s more professional, and he’s been doing nothing but good. “