DEL MAR, CA – Trainer Mark Glatt’s 3-year-old Collusion Illusion toppled the west coast’s top elder dirt sprinters in Saturday’s $250,000 Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) at Del Mar.

The Bing Crosby is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Collusion Illusion receiving an automatic berth in the Sprint at Keeneland this November.

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Despite the age disparity, Collusion Illusion was the 9/5 favorite when he broke from post 9 under Flavien Prat. Six rivals were hell-bent on fighting for the lead, so Collusion Illusion took back slightly and watched them form a wall heading into the far turn.

After the sextet raced heads apart through opening fractions of :21.58 and :44.73, it was Wildman Jack who emerged onto the front stretch with a slim lead, but Glatt’s second entry Law Abidin Citizen gave him pressure to his inside.

Collusion Illusion flew between horses after straightening for home and dove through an opening between his stablemate and the rail, surpassing them just inside the 1/16 pole. Lexitonian made a strong late bid down the middle of the lane, but it was not enough.

Collusion Illusion crossed a nose clear in a final time of 1:10.41 for the 6-furlong fast dirt sprint.

Credit: Benoit Photo

“It set up nicely for me,” said Prat, who notched his 50th career stakes at the surfside venue. “They were going fast up front; I could feel it. My horse was handling the dirt well today, too. Better than he usually does. When we turned for home, I had horses in front of me and I was aware the inside was playing fast today, so I went down there. I got through, and at the 1/8 pole, I thought I was going to be an easy winner. Then I saw that horse on the outside coming and I wasn’t so sure, but we got there.”

Law Abidin Citizen took third over Wildman Jack by a neck, while Heartwood was 1 1/4 lengths behind them in fifth. There was a 4 3/4-length gap back to Fashionably FastAnyportinastorm, and Desert Law to complete the order of finish.

McKinzie and P R Radio Star were scratched.

Collusion Illusion’s win was his third straight and fifth from as many career sprint attempts, including last August’s Best Pal Stakes (G2) over the local strip and the Lazaro Barrera Stakes (G3) in his most recent appearance. The Florida-bred Twirling Candy colt’s record stands at 6-5-0-0 with $398,751 earned for co-owners Dan Agnew, Rodney Orr, Jerry Schneider, and John Xitco.

“We thought, looking on paper, they were going to go pretty fast,” Glatt said. “I didn’t think my other horse would be that close (early), but he hung in there very tough. He’s a bit of an overachiever and I’m almost as proud of him as I am of Collusion Illusion. (Collusion Illusion) doesn’t like dirt in his face, and the way it set up, he was going to have to go extremely wide to stay away from it, but the past couple days, the rail has been getting better as a place to be, and when he darted to the rail, I knew he was going to be coming. I got a little worried if he was going to find a place to go, but he was able to and came through in the end.”

Collusion Illusion returned $5.80 to win, $3.60 to place, and $2.80 to show. Lexitonian brought back $7.20 to place and $5 to show, while Law Abidin Citizen paid $6 to show.