Sunday, November 20, 2011
Sabercat strikes gold in $1M Delta Jackpot (G3)
Making his graded stakes debut, Sabercat rolled to a four-length victory in the $1 million Delta Jackpot S. (G3) on Nov. 19. The $600,000 payday assured the 2-year-old son of Bluegrass Cat a spot in next year's Kentucky Derby (G1).
Sabercat's big win vaulted his sire to the second spot on the second crop sire list, putting his progeny earnings at more than $3.1 million. The WinStar Farm stallion has ten stakes horses in 2011 and is also ranked fourth on the 2-year-old sire list.
After getting bumped soundly at the start, Sabercat began to make up ground on the leaders coming into the final turn. He struck the front at the top of the stretch, then drew off from the field to complete the 1 1/16-mile test in 1:46.62 over a fast track.
"We had a terrible start, we got slammed pretty good leaving there," added winning rider Gerard Melancon. "All I could do was save some ground. I found a good spot going into the last turn and he came through horses like a champ. I did have to steady him a little bit behind (Basmati) because it looked like he ducked out a little bit, then I got him back on and he's all business.”
"It took a few starts for him to come around," owner Ron Winchell said. "Our goal was to make the Breeders' Cup (Juvenile -G1) but he got out of stride a little bit. Our back-up plan was to come to the Jackpot. I like the back-up plan now."
Bred in Kentucky by Lantern Hill Farm, William J. Punk Jr., and the Lighthouse Group, Sabertcat is a dark bay or brown colt out of the Forty Niner mare Miner's Blessing. She is the dam of Busher S. winner Olivine.
Sabercat is 3-0-1 in six starts, with $681,420 in earnings. The colt won the $75,000 Garden State S. on Oct. 2. Winchell bought Sabercat for $120,000 at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling auction.