Greetings from the Palouse, otherwise known as the southeastern corner of the state of Washington. I took a road trip across the state to catch some college football, along with a nice blast of cold and snow. Fortunately, I was able to dig out my gloves and thermal socks before heading over to the dry side of Washington.
There isn't a whole lot of big time stakes action this weekend as most of the races are slated to take place over the Thanksgiving holiday. The lone Grade 1 on tap is the Hollywood Turf Cup where Bourbon Bay (5/2) and Sanagas (GER) (2/1) lead a filed of seven in the 12 furlong event. Miss Match (ARG) (10/1), as she has done often this year, will once again take on the boys.
The $1 million Delta Jackpot is this Saturday, meaning after this weekend there will be two juveniles that have already earned enough in graded earnings to ensure a spot in the 2012 Kentucky Derby. Hansen, winner of the 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, was the first, and the winner of the $600,000 first place prize at Delta Downs will be the second. Of course, the likelihood that the Delta Jackpot winner will even run in the Derby is remote. Only two winners of the Delta Jackpot have come back to run in the Kentucky Derby (Z Humor and Outta Here), and neither finished higher than 7th.
Below is a list of the winners of the Delta Jackpot and their corresponding finish in the Kentucky Derby the following year:
2010 - Gourmet Dinner (DNS)
2009 - Rule (DNS)
2008 - Big Drama (DNS)
2007 - [Dead Heat] Z Humor (14th) & Turf War (DNS)
2006 - Birdbirdistheword (DNS)
2005 - No race (Hurricane Katrina)
2004 - Texcess (DNS)
2003 - Mr Jester (DNS)
2002 - Outta Here (7th)
Bob Baffert's Drill leads a competitive field of ten for this year's Delta Jackpot, and in the process is attempting to finally break through on a conventional dirt surface. After running impressively this summer on synthetics, Drill has failed to transfer his form over to dirt in his last two races. He was a disappointing 10th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile but didn't get the best of trips after boring out at the start and bumping with Crusade. He's looking for a bit of redemption on Saturday night.