California’s road to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) gets underway on Saturday with the $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes (GI) at Del Mar, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win & You’re In” event, which means that the best of the 12 standout sprinters who will race the six furlongs also win an all-expenses paid entry into the World Championships at Santa Anita in three months.
The weather in Southern California continues to be beautiful and Saturday will be no exception, with highs in the mid-70s and a nice ocean breeze expected.
The Bing Crosby has consistently showcased the best summertime sprinters west of the Mississippi River and over the years some of the more recognizable names to have graced the winner’s circle are remembered as elite runners and the list includes champion sprinters Chinook Pass, Lit de Justice, Kona Gold (twice) and Points Offthebench. Agave Racing’s Ransom the Moon won twice in 2017 and 2018.
Trainers Bob Baffert and the late Bruce Headley each own the record for number of winners of the Bing Crosby with four and Flavien Prat, who won in 2020 and 2021 with Collusion Illusion and Dr. Schivel, respectively, and also four in a row from 2015 – 2018, leads all riders with six winners. Lord Nelson set the stakes record of 1:07.65 when he won in 2016.
Last year’s Bing Crosby winner American Theorem is back seeking a repeat off a fifth in a Santa Anita allowance event back in June in what was his first start since last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
2020 Breeders’ Cup Sprint runner-up C Z Rocket, who hasn’t won since taking an allowance over this track a year ago, will like up off a dismal stakes showng up North.
Dr. Schivel, who won this race in 2021 before spending a year on the shelf to race twice this year for an allowance win and a fifth in the Met Mile (G1) in June, is the early 7-2 favorite over a track he’s earned three career wins over.
Cal-bred champion The Chosen Vron is so far undefeated in four starts this year and steps up in to graded company with numbers to space and a likely a decent price against probably the toughest field of his career.
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