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Aaron previews the 2023 Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) from Del Mar, then gives his top picks & long shots from this “Win & You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. The George Papaprodromou-trained Spirit of Makena & his 3-race win streak lead the way against a stacked field that includes the previous 2 years’ race winners: Dr. Schivel (2021) & American Theorem (2022).
Who wins the 1st Grade 1 race of the 2023 Del Mar meet? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
The G1 Bing Crosby at Del Mar will boast a full field this year. Twelve horses will lock horns in the 6-furlong sprint, a “Win and You’re In” challenge race for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita November 4.
The Bing Crosby is the 10th of 11 races Saturday at Del Mar. Approximate post time is 6:30 p.m.
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Three of the entries are horses you can’t help but root for: Dr. Schivel, C Z Rocket and The Chosen Vron.
Dr. Schivel is a 5-year old son of Violence who won the 2020 G1 Del Mar Futurity. Instead of going on to the Breeders’ Cup, the connections shut him down until June of the next year and he rewarded them with three straight victories, including a win in the 2021 Bing Crosby.
This time they did go to the Breeders’ Cup. Dr. Schivel carried a five-race win streak into the Sprint at Del Mar where he suffered a heartbreaking defeat, losing by a nose to a surging Aloha West.
He returned in the G1 Malibu the day after Christmas and ran into Flightline. He lost by 19 lengths. Undeterred, his connections shipped Dr. Schivel to Dubai where he made a good account of himself in the Dubai Golden Shaheen. But when he got back to the states, trainer Mark Glatt didn’t like what he saw in his horse and shut him down for what turned out to be more than a year.
Dr. Schivel returned this year to win an allowance race and then lost to Cody’s Wish in the G1 Met Mile at Belmont Park.
“He didn’t have a good trip,” Glatt says. “I think he would have ran much better. Probably wouldn’t have outrun Cody’s Wish but he got in a bad position and never had a fair shot in the race.”
The Chosen Vron is another 5-year-old who has become popular with followers of the Southern California racing circuit. He’s stepping up into much tougher company in the Bing Crosby. The last time the son of Vronsky ventured outside of Cal-bred company he finished fifth in the G2 Pat O’Brien last summer at Del Mar. He hasn’t lost since, running-off a string of seven straight wins including a five-length victory last out in the $100,000 Thor’s Echo at Santa Anita in May.
“His last few races have been so easy,” trainer Eric Kruljac says. “So after seven Cal-breds in a row sometimes you need to step out and try the big boys.”
Kruljac bred The Chosen Vron. He wins six-furlong races and he wins one mile contests. He wins on the dirt and he wins on the turf.
“You never know (how good they’re going to be) until their 2-year-old year, Kruljac says. “That’s when he started showing flashes of brilliance. He’s thriving. He’s a happy horse.”
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The Chosen Vron will have his hands full in the Bing Crosby with arguably the top sprinter on the West Coast, Spirit of Makena, and last year’s winner, American Theorem. There’s also Sibelius, winner of the Dubai Golden Shaheen and the cagey veteran C Z Rocket.
“He’s my idol, I want to be like him when I grow up,” trainer Peter Miller says of his trusty 9-year old.
The son of City Zip hasn’t won since taking a second-level allowance at Del Mar last summer but he’s run second in the G2 Santa Anita Sprint Championship, second in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint to Elite Power, and second to Dr. Schivel in an open allowance in May. He returned two weeks later and posted a runner-up finish to Spirit of Makena in the G2 Triple Bend.
“He just keeps on ticking,” Miller says. “He’s super sound and has high energy all the time. He obviously fits (in the race). As long as he tells me he’s enjoying his job and he stays as sound and as energetic, we’re going to keep him happy and he’s happy when he’s running.”
Miller says he’s more inclined to train less and run more with an older horse like C Z.
“He doesn’t need much training,” Miller says. “He knows how to keep himself fit. Sound is new money and to have a 9-year-old still firing bullets, he’s an easy keeper.”
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