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


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.