The Bing Crosby Stakes tops the Del Mar bill on Saturday and the race named for one of the founders of the seaside oval has attracted a speedy field.
The Grade 1, $300,000 six-furlong fixture will pit eleven speedballs searching for glory. Inaugurated in 1946, this race was won in 1983 by one of the fastest horses I personally have ever seen. Chinook Pass was the Bing Crosby Stakes winner that year and when his career was over, he had won 16 of his 25 starts and was named the champion sprinter in the country. He also won the Longacres Mile. That race is linked by video courtesy of Emerald Downs. Chinook Pass was usually ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. That rider had the highest praise for this runner, Pincay: “Chinook Pass is the fastest horse I ever rode and the fastest horse I ever saw.”
Bob Baffert has won the Bing Crosby Stakes four times including last year with Lord Nelson and this year he will saddle a major player in Drefong. This son of Gio Ponti lost his debut when off slowly in 2015 but has not tasted defeat since. He has not run since winning the Breeders’ Cup Sprint last fall but he is repeatedly proven off the layoff. The fact he graduated at Del Mar is another plus factor as he leads the Bing Crosby Stakes cast and he has trained quickly for this race. Drefong has recorded best of the morning drills in three of his last four workouts. Last Tuesday, Baffert put on the final touches by watching Drefong go :47 3/5 with this race in mind.
Drefong is shown as an image above courtesy of Thoroughbred Daily News and Sarah K. Andrew.
Denman’s Call will break from the rail. This racer is named for the Del Mar announcer Trevor Denman, who is working Del Mar this meeting despite a broken leg. The son of Northern Afleet is a proven player having won the Grade 1 Triple Bend Stakes last May and could have been a bit out of his element in the Met Mile at Belmont in his last race. He will be ridden by Tyler Baze.
St. Joe Bay has won two of his three races at Del Mar but never against this caliber a rival. He is coming off a solid fourth in a Grade 1 race in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen and you can never dismiss sub: 22 speed. The video link is sponsored by Gulf News.
Ransom the Moon is coming to the Bing Crosby Stakes the right way. He has won two of his three starts this year and the loss was by a neck. That defeat came on July 1 in the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes.
Big Macher is seven years old and still trying. His trainer Richard Baltas has done a sensational job with this racer. Big Macher was off from November off from 2015 until June 11 of this year but he won that comeback race with a 98 Beyer Speed Figure.
Magic Taste has never been a win machine. He has only won two of his 27 starts but did post a rare victory last time. It came in a very soft $40,000 starter race at Los Alamitos. If this racer is successful in the Bing Crosby Stakes, he will blow out the tote board.
Coastline is the hunch play with the Del Mar track right on the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately for the horse, Coastline will need a major turnaround. He had not raced since April and then was a dull fourth in his last race when handled by Ransom the Moon
Roy H has been just an ordinary racer for most of his career but he has recently shown signs of coming into his own. He has only won four of his fourteen starts but he has won three in a row. In this last race, the Grade 2 True North at Belmont Park, Roy H sat an ideal garden trip and drew off to win with a lofty 111 Beyer Speed Figure.
Solid Wager has made a nice living for the most part in state-bred company. He has won two of his seven starts at Del Mar but he can be his own worst enemy at times since he has limited speed. The good news for Solid Wager in the Big Crosby Stakes this year is that there is plenty of velocity in the event. Look for his rider Joe Talamo to take a hold, try to get the horse to settle and then make the one run.
Kobe’s Back has not been able to dunk all year. He is zero for three at Del Mar and although he is a multiple Grade 2 winner, the feeling is he could have lost a step. He has been handled by a number of today’s foes and will have to come from left field if he is going to win.
Moe Candy will be trying to get paid from the extreme outside post. He did win at Del Mar last year but it was in a much softer spot. Trained by John Sadler and ridden by Victor Espinoza, this runner will likely sit in the middle of the pack early and try to run them all down.
The first way to attack the Bing Crosby Stakes this year is to look at the speed and how the race will likely shape up. Drefong will be in the first flight for sure. St. Joe Bay will also be gunning. Moe Candy has some semblance of speed but will likely sit in a stalking position. The stalkers in this race should include Ransom the Moon and Roy H while the rest will likely have to come from off the pace. Of the deep closers in the Bing Crosby Stakes this year, Kobe’s Back could be the value play. He has been in a bit of a funk but was only beaten a neck in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship back in the day.
The versatility of Drefong should carry him to victory. He is a free-wheeling colt but he proved he could sit just off the pace and win just over a year ago when he beat optional claimers at Santa Anita. He is back with Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith, who has been aboard for three of his career five wins. When push comes to shove, Drefong figures to prevail in the Bing Crosby Stakes.
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