This Sunday is the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Handicap going 6 furlongs at Del Mar over the Polytrack. The 65th running of this race has brought together a field of 7. The race is named after one of the co-founders of Del Mar, the venerable entertainer Bing Crosby. One of these horses will join such past winners as Lit de Justice, Thirty Slews and Kona Gold, each of which who went on to win the Breeders' Cup Sprint later that year. Last year's winner Zensational went off favored in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita.
Here is the field:
1 E Z's Gentleman Pedroza M 123 2-1
2 Sky Cape Talamo J 119 20-1
3 Scenic Blast (AUS) Smith M Shirreffs John 121 8-1
4 El Brujo Rosario J 119 8-1
5 Cost of Freedom Bejarano R 119 7-5
6 My Summer Slew Quinonez A 119 10-1
7 Smiling Tiger Espinoza V 115 5-1
The selection is #3 Scenic Blast (AUS). This Australian-born gelded son of the Sadler Well's sire Scenic has race across the globe in his native Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and the UK. He won grade 1 races in the UK and down under, but developed a bleeding problem that led to his importation to the states so he could run on the medication Lasix. he is now under the care of trainer John Shirreffs. Last time out in his first start in the states, he finished a credible 4th behind the #6 in the Robert Kerlan Memorial Handicap @ Hollywood Park going 6 furlongs over the turf. He was ridden then, as he will be today, by jockey Mike Smith. Today will mark his 1st start over the Poly, but this blog thinks he will take to it just fine.
"Blast" was 1st time Lasix in his last start, and that is part of the reason he is the selection. This blog is a firm believer that when it comes to geldings, 2nd-time Lasix, as the #3 is today, is the optimum time to bet the horse. He is also the only true closer in a filled with speed and just off the pace types. Furthermore, Blast is 2nd off the layoff, which this blog is very fond of using that angle. He is a ridiculous 8-1 morning line and is fully expected by post time to be a more realistic 4-1 or so.
#5 Cost of Freedom and #1 E Z Gentlemen are the only other Grade 1 winners in the field. Cost of Freedom won the Grade 3 L.A. Handicap last time out at 6f, beating both the #1 and the #6. He is pure speed, but did once rate just off wickedly fast fractions. He is 3 for 5 at Del Mar and has been working great in the interim for trainer John Sadler. (Below is his win in the L.A. Handicap)
E Z Gentelman came off of that 3/4 length defeat in the L.A. Handicap to win Grade 1 Triple Bend last time out going 7 furlongs. He drafted just to the inside of speedster M One Rifle, came up the rail and spurted away to win 3 and 1/4 lengths. He has worked a nice 5f in 59 & 3 over the track on Monday and looks to keep his string of good efforts going. (Below is his win in the Triple Bend Handicap)
#7 Smiling Tiger is the lone three year-old in the field, is trying to join previous 3 year old winners as King's Blade and Zensational. In his last race, he went gate to wire in the Grade 3 Laz Barrera going 7 furlongs versus 3 year olds @ Hollywood Park. He beat Concord Point, who is his next start broke the track record in winning the Grade 3 Iowa Derby. Tiger has come back to work swiftly, throwing several bullet workouts in preparation for the race. He is a need the lead type who has not showed the ability to pass, and he steps up to face older for the first time.
The others are: #6 My Summer Slew, who won the Kerlan defeating Scenic Blast last time out, but was defeated by both E Z Gentleman and Cost of Freedom in the L.A. Handicap; #4 El Brujo, who makes his first start in 2 months for new trainer Bob Baffert after being campaigned in the Midwest and Canada. All but one of his lifetime starts have been over the Polytrack, including both of his Grade 3 wins at Turfway and Keeneland, respectively; and #2 Sky Cape, who makes his first start in over a year, and appears to be outclassed, even if he brought his top effort.
There is the field for the Bing Crosby. Hopefully you will get the chance to "take a plane, take a train, take a car to Del Mar" to see the race live. Wherever you end up seeing this race, it should be a good, fast sprint that will hopefully will end with a "Blast"!