11/17/2016 2:50PM

Rise Up will play catch me if you can in Delta Mile

Coady Photography
Rise Up, winner of the the Wild and Wonderful Stakes at Charles Town, appears to be the controlling speed in the Delta Mile.

Rise Up on paper appears to be the controlling speed in the $250,000 Delta Downs Mile on Saturday. His trainer, Tom Amoss, would welcome such a scenario.

“It’s no secret what our strategy is going to be,” Amoss said. “He’s a horse that goes to the front and we want to take advantage of that. That’s going to be the plan, to go to the front and hopefully carry it all the way around.”

The Delta Mile is one of eight stakes on the $2.3 million Jackpot program in Vinton, La. The race also serves as the first leg of an all-stakes pick four on races 4-7. There is a $200,000 minimum guaranteed pool and a takeout rate of 12 percent. The forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 65 degrees. Delta will have a first post of 1:45 p.m. Central, and the races will be streamed live on DRF.com.

Rise Up, a 5-year-old millionaire by Rockport Harbor who races for Paul Van Doren, has been a Delta Downs star since he was 2. He won the track’s Jean Lafitte and Grade 3, $1 million Jackpot, and then returned last season to dominate a local allowance. Rise Up got the call for this year’s Delta Mile after registering a pair of authoritative wins, one in an allowance at Ellis Park, and then in the $100,000 Wild and Wonderful Stakes at Charles Town.

“He’s really had kind of a resurgence this summer, starting with the race at Ellis and carrying over to the race at Charles Town,” Amoss said. “They were races we’re used to seeing him run, that it took a while to get back to.”

Rise Up’s record on the six-furlong oval at Delta is 3 for 5 with earnings of $773,800.

“He has an affinity for those tight turns,” Amoss said. “He’s very athletic on those turns.”

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Javier Castellano has the mount on Rise Up, who will break from post 4 in a field of seven.

Rise Up will face Great Minds, who is 2 for 2 at Delta. His wins include the $75,000 Borgata here in March, a race that served as his springboard to victory in the Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park.

Fear the Cowboy is another who has won at Delta. He enters Saturday’s race off a fourth-place finish to Noble Bird in the $175,000 Lukas Classic at Churchill Downs. Noble Bird went on to win the Grade 2 Fayette at Keeneland. Fear the Cowboy has been working regularly at Delta.

Sammy Mandeville, who has placed in three stakes, invades from Southern California for W C Racing.

“He’s such an honest horse,” said trainer Doug O’Neill. “Lately, the waters have been so deep we had to point him outside of Southern California. The game plan is to hopefully run really well Saturday, then have him stay back with Tom Amoss for a Midwest campaign. There are more options for him in the Midwest than in Southern California.”

◗ The second leg of the pick four is the $75,000 Sam’s Town, a seven-furlong race run around two turns. It is restricted to 3-year-olds and up who have never won a stakes. A field of 10 is set to start, led by The Truth Or Else.

The Truth Or Else, who at 2 finished third in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont, enters Saturday’s race in peak form. He took down an optional $100,000 claiming sprint at Keeneland on Oct. 23. Julien Leparoux was aboard the horse for the first time, and has the mount again Saturday. The Truth Or Else will break from post 3.

“He’s been a horse when we raised him [up into a stakes], he struggled with it,” said trainer Ken McPeek. “The restriction on this race is a big deal – horses that hadn’t won a stakes yet. I also like the fact that he’s got Julien back on him.”

One test, said McPeek, will be the two-turn configuration of the race. The Truth Or Else’s last three wins have come in one-turn races.

◗ In Kathballu, McPeek has the probable favorite in the $75,000 Orleans, the Sam’s Town counterpart for fillies and mares. She exits a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Chilukki at Churchill.

◗ Steel Cut will be looking for her third stakes win of the year in the $200,000 Treasure Chest, a one-mile race for fillies and mares which goes with a field of five. Robby Albarado has the mount for trainer Wes Hawley.

◗ The stakes action starts in the third with the $150,000 Louisiana Jewel, a mile race for 2-year-old fillies bred in Louisiana. The field includes stakes winner Chases Dixie Belle and the stakes-placed Jazz Lady and Big Game Baby.

◗ The counterpart for 2-year-olds, the Louisiana Legacy, is led by Jack Snipe’s.