11/22/2014 7:13PM

Ocho Ocho Ocho narrowly prevails in Delta Jackpot

Coady Photography
Ocho Ocho Ocho, ridden by Mike Smith, earns a nose victory to remain undefeated by taking the Delta Downs Jackpot.

VINTON, La. – Ocho Ocho Ocho remained undefeated in three starts Saturday after he won a photo over Mr. Z in the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot, and  then withstood both a stewards’ inquiry as well as an objection from the rider of third-place finisher Far Right. With the win, Ocho Ocho Ocho earned $600,000 and 10 preference points for next year’s Kentucky Derby.

The Jackpot, run 1 1/16 miles, was the richest race on a program of eight stakes worth $2.3 million. Take Charge Brandi, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, captured the Grade 3, $400,000 Delta Downs Princess on the same card..

Ocho Ocho Ocho ($7.20) came into the Jackpot off back-to-back wins at Santa Anita. He won a maiden special weight sprint on Oct. 11 and then returned to take the $100,000 Juvenile Sprint on Nov. 1. Jim Cassidy, who trains Ocho Ocho Ocho for DP Racing, said the horse likely closed out his 2-year-old season Saturday.

“We’ve run three times in six weeks,” Cassidy said. “We’ll give him a chance to take a breather. I don’t think he’ll run before January.”

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Ocho Ocho Ocho, ridden by Mike Smith, stalked the pace in fourth as Conquest Tsunami took the field through fractions of 22.27 seconds for the opening quarter and 45.74  for the half-mile, pressed by Prime Engine. Ocho Ocho Ocho moved to the lead through six furlongs in 1:12.48, and then nosed out Mr. Z after battling with that rival in the stretch. Ocho Ocho Ocho covered the distance  on a fast track in 1:45.47.

Following the race there was a stewards’ inquiry and then a jockey’s objection for interference. It was quickly determined there would be no change to the order of finish.

The Jackpot win was the second stakes score on the card for DP Racing, Cassidy, and Smith, who teamed to capture the $200,000 Treasure Chest with Yahilwa.

Ocho Ocho Ocho is a son of Street Sense who was bred in Kentucky by Siena Farms. He has now earned $693,600.

Mr. Z earned four points towards Kentucky Derby eligibility for his runner-up finish, while Far Right picked up two and Saratoga Heater, who was fourth, one. The remaining order of finish in the Jackpot was Dekabrist in fifth, followed by Wake Up Nick, Red Button, Prime Engine, Golden Actor, and Conquest Tsunami.

The all-stakes pick four that had a $200,000 guaranteed pool paid $46.35. The pool was $319,918, which was a record pick four pool for Delta.