Line Judge to run Saturday in $1 million Delta Jackpot

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Line Judge, a 2-year-old colt owned by Joni and Barry Butzow of Eden Prairie, is the 6 to 1 third choice on the morning line in Saturday’s $1 million Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs in Vinton, LA.  Line Judge broke his maiden at Canterbury Park and won the Careless Navigator Stakes prior to a win in the $200,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta in October. Line Judge is trained by Joe Sharp and will be ridden by C.J. McMahon

The Delta Jackpot is the seventh race on an 11-race program that is offering more than $2.3 million in total purses. The winner of the 1 1/16 mile race will earn $600,000 and 10 points toward qualifying for the 2017 Kentucky Derby.

Delta will begin racing Saturday at 1:45 p.m. The Jackpot is scheduled for 4:45.

Photo by Coady Photography.

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Line Judge Wins $200k Lafitte; Next up $1m Delta Jackpot

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Line Judge, a 2-year-old colt whose career began this summer at Canterbury Park, took a step toward the Nov. 19 $1 million Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs by winning the $200,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes last Saturday, Oct. 22 at the Vinton, LA racetrack.

The son of Spring At Last debuted in Shakopee on July 22, finishing second to Even Thunder, the eventual Shakopee Juvenile Stakes winner, after dueling on the inside. The next start for the Joe Sharp trainee was a win, and his third race was a gate to wire gallop in the Careless Navigator Stakes in Shakopee.

His owners, Barry and Joni Butzow of Eden Prairie, MN, and trainer opted to skip Canterbury’s richest open-company 2-year-old sprint, the Shakopee, and instead lay-up and stretch out in the one-mile Lafitte.

That proved to be a prudent move.

Line Judge, ridden last Saturday evening by C. J. McMahon, battled early while on or close to the lead. He got clear at the eighth pole and went on to win by 3 3/4 lengths, returning $18.20.

Named after a character in a Sienfeld episode, Line Judge was identified as a prospect by the owners and Mac Robertson, and purchased as a yearling for $55,000 at the Keeneland September  Sale in 2015.

The $200,000 purse was the largest single-race win that Barry can recall. He and Joni have had some nice ones along the way including Bryan’s Jewel and Picko’s Pride.  Barry also had a partnership in Hamazing Destiny who finished second in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

They’ve been on the major stage before and now the connections wait patiently for Nov. 19 and a chance at a $1 million pot.  Line Judge will train in Louisiana until then.

 

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PHOTOS PROVIDED BY COADY PHOTOGRAPHY

The Road to Kentucky Begins!

The journey to the 2013 Kentucky Derby has begun! The second-richest race run for two year olds in the country takes place this Saturday. The Delta Jackpot’s million dollar purse lures nine colts to Louisiana including Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint winner Hightail. The field lines up as follows:

Horse (Jockey)

1 Bern Identity (Lopez)

2 Heaven’s Runway (Marquez)

3 Central Banker (Mena)

4 Mylute (Melancon)

5 Hightail (Maragh)

6 Itsmyluckyday (Serpa)

7 Know More (Gutierrez)

8 Show Some Magic (Eramia)

9 Goldencents (Krigger)

While no winner of the Delta Jackpot has captured the Derby yet, the 10th running boasts one of the better fields in recent times and features stakes winners Hightail, Bern Identity, Heaven’s Runaway, Itsmyluckyday and Know More. This race also serves as a 10 point race on Churchill’s “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series.

The best finish in both the Jackpot and the Derby thusfar was by Closing Argument, as he was second in both races. Purses and distance have changed in its brief history, but the consistency in both over the past couple of years seems to have increased interest and quality of field.

Trainers Todd Pletcher, Bill Mott, Ken McPeek and Steve Asmussen have used this race to put their two year olds on the trail in the past, but no trainer has won the Delta Jackpot twice. Keep that in mind when handicapping as the Delta crowd typically bets Steve Asmussen regardless of the form his horse brings to the table. Goldencents is the morning line favorite off his runner-up finish to Shanghai Bobby in the Champagne Stakes. For more information via Deltadowns.com regarding entrants for the Delta Jackpot and their preparations, click here.

Delta Downs starts early on Saturday, 1:15 Central. In their place at night is Churchill Downs, hosting their only “Downs After Dark” card of their fall meet. Churchill will begin at at 3:30 Central Time on Saturday. One more weekend note – Zenyatta Fans! Her half sister, Eblouissante, makes her debut in Hollywood Park’s fourth race on Friday. Keep an eye out to see if she can follow in her Champion sister’s footsteps and make it one for one!

This blog was written by Canterbury Paddock Analyst Angela Hermann. Angela Hermann just completed her second year as Canterbury’s Paddock Analyst after previously serving in a similar role at Lincoln Racecourse and Columbus Ag Park. She blogs about both local and National racing.