10/21/2010 11:48AM

Sweet Ducky using Seton Hall as springboard to Delta Jackpot

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OCEANPORT, N.J. – A small step can lead to a giant jackpot. The $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot, to be precise.

That is the route trainer Kelly Breen has mapped for Sweet Ducky, assuming all goes well in the $70,000 Seton Hall University Stakes for 2-year-olds on Saturday at Monmouth Park.

Sweet Ducky will be making his fourth start, all at Monmouth. The colt with the unusual name faces five rivals in the one-mile race.

From the start, Sweet Ducky flashed talent in his quick morning drills that translated to afternoon success. He won at first asking on June 20 before finishing fourth in the Tyro Stakes on July 25. He took a hard bump at the start of that race and sustained a leg gash blew up into a bigger problem.

“Watching the replay and watching him come back to the barn, I didn’t think it was that significant,” Breen said. “We came in the next morning and his leg was the size of an elephant’s. This was more serious than we first thought.”

Given time to recuperate, Sweet Ducky did not run again until late September, when he captured the Garden State Stakes, his try around two turns with Joe Bravo aboard for the first time.

“Joe had breezed him once or twice,” Breen said. “He’s getting to know him. They got the win, and we hope to do the same thing on Saturday and move forward to Delta Downs.”

The injury in the Tyro could be one of those blessings in disguise, in that Sweet Ducky didn’t jump up to tackle Uncle Mo and the other leaders in the division. If all goes well, he will be a relatively fresh horse going for a huge prize with graded earnings, a possible factor in making the cut for next year’s Kentucky Derby field.

“We’ll have him fresh and ready to rock and roll,” Breen said of the Jackpot. “He’ll have had some nice experience.”

Curlinello, Silent Tap, and Printing Press look like the main Seton Hall competition.

A debut winner at Saratoga for trainer Todd Pletcher, Curlinello finished second by only a half-length to Sweet Ducky in the Garden State.

Silent Tap scored his maiden win last time out at Laurel at this same one-mile distance.

Printing Press stretches out for the first time after three Monmouth sprints. He was third most recently in the NATC Futurity.