12/08/2007 12:00AM

Z Humor, Turf War dead-heat in Delta Jackpot

EmailVINTON, La. - Z Humor and Turf War took different routes to Friday night's Grade 3, $1 million Delta Jackpot, but the results were the same as they dead-heated for the win in Louisiana's richest race. The $400,000 in graded earnings each picked up should ensure them a spot in the starting gate for next year's Kentucky Derby if they choose to run.

"It makes him eligible," said Bill Mott, who trains Z Humor. "He's won enough money. I guess that's part of the battle. It's not the whole thing, but at least if we want to run we're in."

Z Humor ($3.20), under Garrett Gomez, raced just off the early pace in the 1 1/16-mile Jackpot, as St. Joe seized the lead at the start and was clear through an opening quarter in 22.22 seconds and a half-mile in 45.93. Turf War ($28.20), meanwhile, was trailing at that point, more than a dozen lengths back under Calvin Borel.

St. Joe proceeded to take the field into the final turn through six furlongs in 1:11.91, with Z Humor moving up to his inside. Z Humor overtook St. Joe late in the turn and made the lead as Turf War came into the stretch about eight wide, and closed fast. The winners covered the distance over a track rated fast in 1:45.43.

Golden Yank rallied in the stretch, too, and found himself in the middle of a three-horse photo at the wire. He finished third, beaten a neck, and his rider, Gerard Melancon, lodged objections against both Z Humor and Turf War for bumping in deep stretch. The stewards ruled no change would be made to the order of finish.

Turf War, a full brother to Travers runner-up Grasshopper, earned his second career stakes win in the Jackpot.

"I think it set up perfectly for the way that we wanted him to run," said Norman Casse, who saddled Turf War for his father, trainer Mark Casse. "I think the most important thing that we would get out of this is that he showed a little bit of an affinity for the dirt.

"This would be his first time on the dirt because he's mostly been a Polytrack horse. It's exciting to see him run and finish the way that he did today on the dirt, so we've got potential to do bigger things."

Turf War will head back to Fair Grounds, while Mott said Z Humor would be freshened. Turf War races for Woodford Racing; Z Humor is owned by Zayat Stables.

The remaining order of finish was Racecar Rhapsody, Overextended, St. Joe, Cave's Valley, Betatron, Take the Money, and Cudjo.

By the Light gets two turns in Princess

By the Light won her two-turn debut when she roared to a 5 1/4-length win over Miss Missile in the $300,000 Delta Princess. The one-mile race for 2-year-old fillies was one of three stakes that supported the Jackpot. Together the four stakes were worth more than $1.4 million, making the program the richest of the meet at Delta.

By the Light ($6.20) settled several lengths off dueling leaders Swifty Victress and Miss Missile, launched her bid into the final turn, and overtook Miss Missile in the stretch with a commanding move. By the Light covered the distance in 1:40.21.

"My horse, she was so relaxed in the race, that's why she gave me a big run," said Rafael Bejarano, who rode By the Light for trainer Richard Dutrow.

By the Light is now 4-for-4. She races for Jay Em Ess Stables.

* Jonesboro ($4.20) successfully defended his title in the $75,000 Sam's Town, when he darted to a 1 3/4-length over Thunder Mission. Borel rode the winner for Michael Langford and trainer Randy Morse.

*Coolwind ($3.80) launched a strong bid on the final turn and punched on to win the $75,000 Treasure Chest by a neck. Robby Albarado rode the winner for Jim Tafel LLC and trainer Greg Geier.

*A pick four linking the four stakes paid $127.60. The winning combination was 4-8-6-4/9.

* Handle on the 10-race program was $2,458,315, with $133,928 of that amount bet ontrack at Delta.