11/26/2008 12:00AM

West Side Bernie arrives early for Jackpot


West Side Bernie is following a proven pattern leading up to the Grade 3, $750,000 Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs on Dec. 5. He has shipped in well in advance of the 1 1/16-mile race, just as he did for the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Juvenile, which he won in September at Turfway Park.

West Side Bernie arrived at Delta on Nov. 21, aboard a flight from Newark, N.J., and is the first Jackpot horse on the grounds. Next week, he will be joined by multiple stakes winner Kick On, who will ship in Monday from his Remington Park base, trainer Joe Petalino said. Kelly Breen trains West Side Bernie and has been with him at Delta.

"We're getting him over the track and getting him used to it," he said. "We tried that with him on the Polytrack at Turfway. He had two works over it, and it seemed to work for us.

"I've been galloping him first thing in the morning. They have the lights on, it's still somewhat dark, so he's getting a little bit of prep for night racing as well."

The Jackpot is run on a night card over a sandy, six-furlong oval. Its entrants are often exposed to the tighter turns of a small track for the first time in the race, and for some, it will be their first experience racing under lights. Mr. Jester, who won the Jackpot in 2003, shipped in well advance of the race, like West Side Bernie.

The Jackpot will share a card with the Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Princess for 2-year-old fillies at a mile. The races will be part of a $100,000 guaranteed pick four offered by Delta.

Peppers Pride training at Sunland

Peppers Pride, who is undefeated in 18 career starts following her win in the New Mexico Cup Filly and Mare Championship at Zia Park on Nov. 9, has been at Sunland Park for the last week, trainer Joel Marr said. She could run Dec. 14 in the track's $125,000 New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap.

"She's at Sunland Park training right now, and we're still thinking about the race on the 14th," Marr said. "We'll just see how she works and trains and decide what to do."

If she goes, there is a good chance the Sunland race would be the career finale for Peppers Pride, who is 5.

"We're not positive, but breeding her is what we're leaning toward," Marr said. "We're still investigating stallions."

Peppers Pride, who races for Joe Allen, holds the longest modern win streak for a Thoroughbred based in North America.

DRF/NTRA Qualifier at Sam Houston

Sam Houston Race Park officials expect to draw about 100 players for Saturday's qualifying tournament for the Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championship this January in Las Vegas.

There is no charge to enter the Sam Houston qualifier, with the winner taking home $1,750 in cash, a fees-paid berth into the national final, airfare to Las Vegas, and accommodations at the Red Rock Resort and Casino. The deadline to enter the Sam Houston qualifier is approximately noon Saturday.

Calhoun pair tops Remington feature

Remington Park will have a special day post of 1:30 p.m. Central Friday, with a $35,000 optional claimer at six furlongs serving as the card's feature. Bret Calhoun, who is second in the local trainer standings to Steve Asmussen, will send out a capable pair in Sweeten With Gold, a winner at this level Nov. 2, and C D Cash. The main threat could be the Asmussen-trained Chief Gone West, who was fourth in last month's $75,000 Remington Park Sprint Championship.

New venue for Sandburr

Sandburr, who has won the last two runnings of the Star of Texas on the Texas Champions Day program at Sam Houston, will be running at a new venue if he defends his title in this year's renewal. He is among the 21 nominees for the 1 1/16-mile race for Texas-breds, which will be held Dec. 6 at Retama Park, as Sam Houston has canceled its meet due to damage sustained during Hurricane Ike.

Lone Star to remain open for training

Lone Star Park will close out its Quarter Horse meet on Saturday night, but will remain open as a training center following the season, said Drew Shubeck, the track's president. The stall rent is $6 per day, with the training center to operate through March 20. Published works will begin Jan. 2, with training races scheduled for Feb. 11, Feb. 25, and March 11.

* Seasons to Adena Springs stallions Giacomo, Silent Name, Olmodavor, and Sligo Bay will be auctioned at the Mistletoe Ball at the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Las Colinas, Texas, on Dec. 5. The proceeds will benefit a number of local charities in Grand Prairie through the Lone Star Park Charitable Foundation. For bidding information, contact Drew Shubeck at Lone Star Park.