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DEL MAR, CA – Saturday’s $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) at Del Mar drew a solid field of 9 runners and giving us the best stakes of the meet so far, featuring multiple graded stakes winner C Z Rocket returning back out west.
The event, which also serves as a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” for the Sprint, is scheduled for race 10 on an 11-race card that features several solid betting races mixed throughout the day. Local post time for the Bing Crosby is 6:30 PM.
C Z Rocket returns to Del Mar, where he won the Pat O’Brien Stakes (G2) last season. He started 2021 winning the Hot Springs Stakes and the Count Fleet Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn Park before stretching out to a mile at Lone Star Park and finishing second in the Sexton Mile Stakes (G3) over a sloppy track. He’ll cut back to his preferred distance here and break from post 3 with Florent Geroux along for the ride.
He’ll be challenged by Del Mar specialist Collusion Illusion, who is a perfect 3 for 3 over this track. He won last year’s Bing Crosby in impressive fashion as a 3-year-old, though he failed to win his next 3 races. He runs off a 7-month layoff while breaking from post 6 with Tyler Baze aboard the Mark Glatt trainee for the first time.
“The race is different from one year to the next, the horses and the way they’re coming into the race is different. That’s what you base it on,” Glatt said.
An intriguing entry is Dr. Schivel, who won the Del Mar Futurity (G1) over this track last season as a 2-year-old. Unfortunately, an injury forced him to miss nearly 9 months of action and caused him to miss all of the big 3-year-old races. However, he returned in solid fashion last time out, defeating allowance company at Santa Anita by a neck. That race sets him up well for this and top jockey Flavien Prat chose him over his stablemate Collusion Illusion, a horse Prat also usually rides. Dr. Schivel will break from post 8 for this latest challenge.
“He had a very good comeback race and he has trained very well since,” Glatt said.
The full field from the rail out: Shooters Shoot, Vertical Threat, C Z Rocket, Law Abidin Citizen, Quick Tempo, Collusion Illusion, Eight Rings, Dr. Schivel, and Brickyard Ride.
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#8 Dr. Schivel – There are enough positive signs to take a bit of a swing with this horse. He was one of the more impressive 2-year-olds last year, winning twice over this track, plus he returned from a long layoff last time out to defeat allowance horses at Santa Anita. There is no doubt he’ll need to move forward off of that win, but he has every right do so, and it looks as though Flavien Prat chose to ride him over Collusion Illusion. If C Z Rocket stubs his toe a bit, then this is the horse who seems ready to take advantage.
#3 C Z Rocket – He’s without a doubt the deserving favorite here; his one-turn races the past 2 years have been very impressive. In both of his 2021 efforts at Oaklawn Park, he defeated local hero Whitmore despite the fact that Whitmore ran very well both times. You shouldn’t hold against him his second in the Sexton Mile, as he had to stretch out in distance over an extremely sloppy track. He is squarely the one to beat in this spot.
#6 Collusion Illusion – He’s back to defend his title in his first race of the season. His last start came on December 26, 2020, when he was a distant third in the Malibu Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita. This horse is an undefeated 3-for-3 at Del Mar, though, which definitely works in his favor, considering this track can be a little quirky. Still, this is a big challenge and his regular rider Flavien Prat has jumped off of him to ride Dr. Schivel.
#4 Law Abidin Citizen – Last year, he was third in this race and in the Pat O’Brien Stakes (G2) to round out a solid Del Mar meeting. Since then, he’s made just 2 starts, including winning the Oak Tree Sprint Stakes last time out at Pleasanton. He comes into this fresh and should be ready to fire with a solid effort, which makes him a reasonable underneath candidate.
#9 Brickyard Ride – To be completely honest, I can’t figure this horse out. At his best, he can win this race, but he’s been very inconsistent. He got back to his winning ways last time out in the Thor’s Echo Stakes, but this is a much tougher spot. He’ll be on the lead early, there’s no doubt about that, but will he be able to carry his speed all the way to the wire?
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#2 Vertical Threat – He has speed figures that can compete with this group, but we haven’t seen him run in quite some time. This is a tough spot to return off of a big layoff while also moving up in class.
#7 Eight Rings – It’s been a while since we’ve seen this horse at his best. Injuries have forced him to miss a lot of time, so it’s hard to get a good judge on his talent level, but we aren’t playing him until he proves that he can win at this level.
#5 Quick Tempo – This horse should play a factor in the pace but looks a bit overmatched after running second in the Iowa Sprint Stakes last time out. However, this is his second start off the layoff and the horse who beat him last time out is very good right now.
#1 Shooters Shoot – He’s been running well as of late, but this race seems a bit tougher than what he’s faced. Even though he was second last time out in the Triple Bend Stakes (G2), he’ll need to improve off of that effort to have a shot.
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