The Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar is a $300,000 G1 sprint and a Breeders’ Cup Sprint “win and you’re in” event. The race will be contested by a field of 7 over Del Mar’s dirt course at a distance of 6 furlongs.
Del Mar’s dirt course has been friendly to the front end in sprints so far this meet with 31% wire to wire winners and 88% of winners coming from front runners or stalkers. The average distance behind the leader at the first call has been 0.9 lengths. This is very consistent with Santa Anita’s front end bias where almost all dirt sprints were won up front.
There are several horses in this field with an affinity for the lead. Rail horse Caxelman’s 2 most recent victories were on the engine, #4 Cistron has found the front in both races since returning to the dirt, #6 Chief Cicatriz has not been further than a head back at the first call in his last 4 wins, and from the outside 8 post, Jalen’s Journey will look to cross over early as well.
Behind this group will be stalkers Desert Law, Recruiting Ready, with Line Judge and Air Strike hoping to pick up the pieces in the lane.
I see the pace of this race being contentious but not necessarily too hot.
The horse I landed on is the #3 Cistron. Trained by John Sadler and ridden by Victor Espinoza, Cistron ran 2nd to Airstrike in the G2 Triple Bend Stakes in his last at Santa Anita. That race was at 7 furlongs so the cut back to 6 furlongs should help.
At first glance it looks like Cistron was just not good enough while on the front end in the Triple Bend in spite of a strong speed bias. But when we dig deeper, that day may have been an anomaly.
While perusing the Santa Anita results for dirt sprints in May and June, the charts were dominated by wire to wire winners at short prices. This pattern was evident every day….except for May 25th, the day of Cistron’s narrow loss to the deep closing Air Strike. On the 25th, there were four dirt sprints. One of the sprints was won by a wire to wire favorite, but the other three were captured by deep closers at long prices. Those winners paid $55.60 (Air Strike), $9.00, and $27.40 and two of the three ran wide. In these races, the horses that battled for the front all came back to run well. This bodes well for Cistron.
While I could not pinpoint a reason for the one-day change in bias, it occurred during the Santa Anita horse-health debacle, and it was on the weekend of the Gold Cup. Del Mar’s dirt course has been kind to the inside and to speed, so I expect Cistron to get the lead early and hold on late.
Let’s take Cistron to improve off that effort for the win.