BING CROSBY STAKES AT DEL MAR
Race 10 on Saturday, July 31, is the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes. The 6-furlong sprint is scheduled for 9:36 p.m. EST, 6:36 p.m. local track time at Del Mar. There are nine runners scheduled to go to post, and the winner receives an automatic fees-paid invitation to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Nov. 6 at Del Mar.
Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner was off-the-pace runner Whitmore. The 7-year-old was a big payoff at 18-1 odds, and a $2 win bet returned $38.80. Whitmore finished 3 1/2 lengths in front of CZ Rocket, who is the favorite in this year’s Bing Crosby with a morning line of 5-2. Collusion
Illusion (4-1) is also a contender in the Bing Crosby, and he finished 12th in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
If you would like to watch Whitmore race on Saturday, the now 8-year-old is sprinting in Race 8 at Saratoga in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Handicap and is one of the contenders at 4-1 odds. That’s one race ahead of the $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes, which features this year’s Belmont Stakes winner and top 3-year-old Essential Quality.
Top Win Contenders – Bing Crosby
- Dr. Schivel (7-2)
- Eight Rings (10-1)
- CZ Rocket (5-2)
Dr. Schivel and Eight Rings are also top-value plays, along with Vertical Threat (8-1), according to Horse Racing Nation’s Super Screener. Dr. Schivel, Collusion Illusion and Law Abidin Citizen are trained by Mark Glatt.
Dr. Schivel is making just his second start since last September, when he won the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity. He’s 2-for-2 at Del Mar, and in his 2021 debut last month, he posted his best Equibase Speed Figure of 109 in defeating a solid field of older horses with solid, balanced speed and pace figures. Del Mar’s leading jockey Flavian Prat rides.
Eight Rings is trained by Bob Baffert, and he should press a projected hot pace and benefit from a cutback in distance after finishing fourth as the favorite in his 2021 debut in May. He’s failed to hit the board in his last four starts, but Eight Rings is showing some life in the mornings with three strong bullet works. Perhaps he’s ready to fire without the extra boost he may have been getting from his lab trainer.
CZ Rocket is the deserving favorite for lab/EPO trainer Peter Miller. He’s a closer, and the 7-year-old gelding will get plenty of pace and pressure to close into in this race. CZ Rocket has won seven of his last nine sprint starts, including two this year plus a runner-up finish last out at the end of May. He’s posted consistent triple-digit speed figures, and Miller has turned a good horse into a great one, feeding him more than oats and hay. CZ Rocket will be back in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint regardless of where he finishes in this race.
Collusion Illusion is an off-the-pace runner who is 3-for-3 over the Del Mar surface. Law Abidin Citizen finished third. Three races back, Collusion Illusion (4-1) finished a length behind CZ Rocket. But that was last September, after he had won the Bing Crosby by a nose. Meanwhile, Vertical Threat enters off an eight-month layoff.
CLEMENT L. HIRSCH AT DEL MAR
Race 9 on Sunday, Aug. 1, is the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes for fillies and mares. The 1 1/16-mile race is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET and 6 local track time at Del Mar. Seven entries are lined up, and the winner receives an automatic fees-paid entry to the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Nov. 6 at Del Mar.
Top Win Contenders – Clement L. Hirsch
- As Time Goes By
- Venetian Harbor
All three of the main contenders and favorites have sharp early speed. Shedaresthedevil holds a slight upper hand but will have to outduel two Southern California graded stakes-winning distaffers in As Time Goes By and Venetian Harbor. As Time Goes By is trained by Bob Baffert, and she’s won three of four starts this year, including her last two graded stakes. The daughter of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah has a pair of sharp bullet works over the Del Mar surface the past 10 days.
Shedaresthedevil makes her fifth Grade 1 start in the past year. She’s been running against top competition and beat the leading older female Letruska in the 1 1/16 Azeri Stakes. Another EPO trainer, Brad Cox, is shipping her in from the East Coast looking to secure a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
EPO trainer Richard Balthas has won just three of 32 starts at the Del Mar Summer Meet, but he has a good chance with Venetian Harbor. She’s posted four straight bullet works in the morning in July off her Grade 2 win in June at 6 1/2 furlongs. That victory was her first start since finishing out of the money in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint last November. This is her eighth straight graded stakes start, and she has three wins and three runner-up finishes in her last seven.
Warren’s Showtime has won seven of 20 starts, including her last race in June. She’s finished in the money in 12 straight starts and has the best chance to come from off the pace and close into the speed. She could also be a late scratch Sunday, as her trainer Craig Lewis is considering running her in a stakes race on the turf in two weeks. The other three long shots in the race appear overmatched.
The Del Mar Summer Meet runs through Labor Day, Sept. 6, 2021. Then the Del Mar Fall Meet begins in October ahead of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Nov. 5-6 at Del Mar.
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