WinStar Farm won its third graded 2-year-old stakes in three weeks on Friday night, when Rule drove to a gutty neck win over Uh Oh Bango in the Grade 3, $750,000 Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back in third to Oak Motte.
Rule's win came on the heels of Super Saver's victory in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and American Lion's score in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue. The three colts race for the WinStar operation of Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt.
The Delta Jackpot was the richest of six stakes worth a cumulative $1.6 million on the Delta Downs card. Also on the program, Quiet Temper won her maiden in the Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Princess for 2-year-old fillies. The card, which began under snowy conditions that cleared off, made for the richest night of racing at Delta.
Rule ($4) came into the Jackpot off a track-record performance in the race's local prep, the $175,000 Jean Laffite. He wired the field in that race and again used front-running tactics Friday night, setting fractions of 23.24 seconds for the opening quarter, 46.75 for the half-mile, and 1:12.12 for six furlongs, with Uh Oh Bango in close pursuit. Rule managed to fight off his pace rival through the lane and covered the 1 1/16 miles on a sloppy track in 1:45.63.
"He broke well," said John Velazquez, who was aboard for trainer Todd Pletcher. "I just left him alone wherever he was - obviously, he won like that here last time. I was just worried about the track. The track's a little bit heavier today, but he held on well.
"He put up a good fight. The other horse kept coming after him, and every time I asked him for a little more, he just kept giving it to me."
Rule earned $450,000 for the win in the Jackpot. He is a son of Roman Ruler.