A field of eight will do battle Saturday evening in the $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) at Del Mar, which will serve as a “Win and You’re In” event for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) later this year at Santa Anita Park.
This race always highlights California’s best sprinters. In recent editions, horses such as Roy H and Ransom the Moon have graced star-studded lineups, and the race seems to be filled with many promising horses once again this year. Recruiting Ready is the most established of the group, coming off of a solid third-place effort in the True North Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park. He only lost by a 1/2-length to Catalina Cruiser, who came back to win the San Diego Handicap (G2) over this track last weekend. Several other up-and-coming challengers are set to give Recruiting Ready their best shot, including five who come into this event having won their last race.
The winner of the Bing Crosby Stakes will receive an automatic position in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) this fall at Santa Anita Park. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the nominating person. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of California will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based Internationally.
Here is a look at the full field:
#1 Calexman – A string of solid allowance races this year have earned this colt a shot at tougher company today. He has hit the board in four straight and won a 5-furlong dash at Los Alamitos last time out by a head. His strategy here, as always, will be to go to the front and take them as far as he can. Drawing the rail pretty gives much his connections one option anyway: send right out of the gate.
#2 Desert Law – It’s always fun to see a California-bred win a big open-company race in his home state, and that is what Desert Law will try to do. He’s coming off of a big-time win last time out in the $100,000 Thor’s Echo Stakes at Santa Anita Park, where he dominated fellow state-breds by over 6 lengths. In the past, he was able to defeat open company allowance foes, so his connections have confidence that he can pull it off again on a much bigger stage.
#3 Cistron – Since moving back to the dirt, this horse has been very solid. Two races back, he came up with a big victory in the Kona Gold Stakes (G2), then just missed by a head last time out in the Triple Bend Stakes (G2). In both of those races at Santa Anita Park, he sped out to the early lead, which has always been his most dangerous weapon. On paper in this evenly-matched event, he will likely go off as the favorite at post time, and Victor Espinoza is back to ride for the third straight race.
#4 Line Judge – Trainer Peter Miller saw solid returns from this recent claim right off the bat, winning the $120,000 Kelly’s Landing Stakes at Churchill Downs in his first start since being tagged for $62,500. Here, he’ll try to make it back-to-back scores for his new connections after running a career-best effort last time out. Miller is usually very good with horses recently changing to his barn, so it would be no surprised if he parlayed that effort into more success here. Look for Line Judge to drop towards the back early and make one big run down the lane.
#5 Air Strike – The colt comes into this race off the biggest win of his career last time out in the Triple Bend Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park, where he upset the field at odds of 12/1, including fellow rival Cistron. This horse had been entered in a lot of two-turn races before winning at 7 furlongs in that last spot, so it’s very possible that he is better off at these one-turn events, even though he lacks early speed. He’ll be hoping for lots of pace up front so that he can come running late and mow them all down.
#6 Chief Cicatriz – He has been running at smaller tracks around the country with great success, which has earned him a shot against tougher company here. Last time out, he was a winner at Canterbury Park in the $50,000 Dark Star Cup Stakes, and he nearly won the $65,000 Ed Skinner Stakes at Prairie Meadows two races back. We’ll see if he’s ready to step his game up to a new challenge in this difficult spot.
#7 Recruiting Ready –He’s known as one of the fastest horses in training and possesses tremendous early speed out of the gate. However, he has shown this year an ability to rate as well, which gives him an extra weapon heading into tougher races like this one. He lured red-hot jockey Flavien Prat to ride him for the first time in this spot, which adds to his chances of getting the job done.
#8 Jalen Journey –After winning three straight, Jalen Journey moved up to stakes company last time out in the Smile Sprint (G3) at Gulfstream Park, where he finished a close second. The gelding gets a trainer change to Peter Miller after Kathleen O’Connnell conditioned him for all of his victories. With the new trainer also come a new jockey, and Hall of Famer Mike Smith will take over the mount, a sign that he believes that this horse has serious talent.
The Bing Crosby Stakes serves as one of two Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events this weekend at Del Mar. The other race is the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1), which will be contested on Sunday and is a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Longines Distaff (G1). These two contestes have been quality producers of Breeders’ Cup contenders in the past, making them must-see events. The American-based Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events continue on August 3rd at Saratoga Race Course with the running of the Whitney Stakes (G1), a “Win and You’re In” event for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.