Blue Laser’s connections passed on the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and targeted Saturday’s Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot. The move is looking like a good one on paper as the horse was made the 3-1 morning-line favorite when entries for the 1 1/16-mile stakes were drawn Wednesday.
The Jackpot will anchor a program of eight stakes worth a cumulative $2.3 million. The card is the richest in Louisiana and will feature a $100,000-guaranteed pick four that runs from the fourth through seventh races. The Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Downs Princess for 2-year-old fillies at a mile will be part of the sequence that ends with the meet’s richest race, the Jackpot.
Blue Laser, who won the Grade 3 Grey at Woodbine on Oct. 10, will break from post 8 in the field of 10. He had been under consideration for the BC Juvenile on Nov. 6 and last month shipped to Churchill Downs to train for the race. But his connections changed course and decided to point to the Jackpot.
“There were a few reasons,” said Mark Casse, who trains Blue Laser for WinStar Farm. “I would say one, we thought he would enjoy a little more time. You have to remember he’s only run on Polytrack. He’s stayed at Churchill, and it’s given us a chance to have three or four breezes over the dirt track. We would have been going into the Breeders’ Cup with only one dirt work. Now, we have three or four.
“We also looked at the race, both [racing manager] Elliott Walden and I, and we have a lot of respect for Uncle Mo.”
Uncle Mo won the BC Juvenile in convincing fashion to establish himself as the early favorite for the Kentucky Derby.
Blue Laser, who is to be ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, shipped in Tuesday.
Classic Legacy and Clubhouse Ride were to arrive Wednesday night at Delta, track officials said. The pair was scheduled to fly from Southern California to Shreveport, La., then van about 3 1/2 hours to Delta, which is located in the southwestern Louisiana town of Vinton.
Classic Legacy, previously trained by Robert Tiller, will be making his first start for trainer Bob Baffert after finishing third to Blue Laser in the Grey. He will break from post 2, under Joe Talamo. Clubhouse Ride, a stakes winner for trainer Craig Lewis, drew post 5 and will be ridden by Patrick Valenzuela.
The complete field from the rail with riders is Gourmet Dinner, Sebastian Madrid; Classic Legacy, Talamo; Aces N Kings, Calvin Borel; Rush Now, Robby Albarado; Clubhouse Ride, Valenzuela; Bug Juice, Javier Castellano; Decisive Moment, Kerwin Clark; Blue Laser, Bridgmohan; Sweet Ducky, Joe Bravo; and Dreamsrunwild, Iram Diego.
The Princess drew a field of nine headed by New York shipper Promise Me a Cat. Castellano has the mount from post 7, for trainer Carlos Martin.
The forecast for Saturday is sunny skies and a high of 73 degrees. There is a special day post of 1 p.m. Central on Saturday. The Jackpot goes at 4:15 p.m.