Delta Downs Jackpot and Clark Handicap Offer Big Thoroughbreds to Watch in 2014

The 2014 Kentucky Derby is still just a distant blip on the horse racing radar screen, but this time of year there are multiple prep races which horse owners and trainers use to test their two-year-old thoroughbreds. More than two dozen important races in 2013 are used to judge Kentucky Derby eligibility, including the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot. The marquee annual event held at the Delta Downs Racetrack and Casino in Vinton, Louisiana on November 23 is one of eight overall races run that day, including two high stakes event. These are great races for the savvy sports bettor to begin to develop a picture of what the Kentucky Derby horse betting lineup will look like in 2014.

Horses are awarded points in 34 recognized horse races which then tell Kentucky Derby officials exactly what talented thoroughbreds are the cream of the crop. At Delta Downs racetrack, the 1 1/16 mile race will award 10, 4, 2 and 1 points to the top four finishers. "Rise Up" requires watching, as the recent winner of the Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs on October 26. "Mighty Brown" was the runner-up in that race, and may sound familiar to you. That is because he is the son of 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, and another possible Delta Downs Jackpot winner is Street Sense Stakes winner "Coastline".

All of those horses will probably figure prominently in this week's Delta Downs race, as well as the 2014 Kentucky Derby. Another important horse race which will help finish up the 2013 thoroughbred season pits three-year-olds at the legendary Churchill Downs which annually hosts the legendary Kentucky Derby. The River City Handicap is a Grade III race which is run on the turf at a distance of 1 1/8 miles. This important thoroughbred race is run this year on November 29, the day after Thanksgiving, with a $200,000 total purse, and is one of many on a card that includes the prestigious Clark Handicap.

The Clark Handicap thoroughbred horse race is as old as the Kentucky Derby itself, and will carry a $500,000 purse this year. The American thoroughbred horse race is one of the oldest horse races in the world, first run in 1875. This Grade I event will see California standout "Game On Dude" sharing high weight honors with "Will Take Charge" at 126 pounds. The official weights came out Friday, November 22, and both of those horses figure as prominent runners in the important Clark Handicap. You may remember that Game On Dude was riding an outstanding six race winning streak before he finished ninth in the Breeders Cup Classic, where he was the pre-race favorite.

"Will Take Charge" won the Travers and Pennsylvania Derby races, and barely lost the Classic by a hair to "Mucho Macho Man", who was assigned a weight of 123. That is not enough of a significant weight difference to mean much, as three-year-olds get three pounds from older horses running 1 1/8 miles at this time of the year. All three of those horses should vie for the top honors at the Clark Handicap, and a significant performance by the race winner, or the Delta Downs Jackpot champion, will aid the intelligent thoroughbred horse bettor in deciding the class of the field in 2014.

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