The first instinct when looking at Saturday’s Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar is to see who’s not here for California’s richest sprint race ($400,000).
Those three are either injured or inactive. So instead, you get a deep and largely untested 10-horse field: all of whom make their 2022 Grade 1 sprint debuts chasing a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” spot in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Only one contender: American Theorem (4/1), owns a graded stakes victory this year. He captured the May 29 Grade 2 Triple Bend at Santa Anita Park in a photo over Principe Carlo (6/1), who is also in the Bing Crosby field. Another Bing Crosby runner, 12/1 Get Her Number, completed the trifecta.
American Theorem finds Bing Crosby an entertaining distance
American Theorem, who finished a distant sixth: 24 lengths behind Express Train, in the 1 ¼-mile Santa Anita Handicap three starts ago, prefers sprinting. He won the Triple Bend at 13/1 with a career-best effort that puts him into consideration here.
He has plenty of company, starting with 7/2 morning line favorite Shaaz. The $1.1 million colt, owned by Pandora Jewelry baron Michael Lund Petersen, is 3-for-4. His only loss came in the May 30 Grade 3 Steve Sexton Mile at Lone Star Park, where he finished third by less than two lengths as the 2/1 favorite.
The Bob Baffert charge has been lights-out in training. He comes into the Bing Crosby off three bullet workouts, the last being a 1:11.40 six-furlong effort July 24 that was first of nine at that distance. Baffert worked the 4-year-old Uncle Mo colt with Dubai World Cup winner Country Grammer, who runs two races later in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap.
Drain the Clock staying away from Jackie’s Warrior
There’s also East Coast invader Drain the Clock (4/1). You remember him from his duels with Jackie’s Warrior in New York last summer. Drain the Clock beat the Champion Male Sprinter of 2021 at the Grade 1 Woody Stephens last June. But Jackie’s Warrior paid that back with interest in their next start, winning the Grade 2 Amsterdam by 7 ¼ lengths.
He’s a seven-time winner, but getting away from Jackie’s Warrior this year hasn’t helped Drain the Clock. He’s hit the board once in three races (0-1-0), a runner-up as the 7/10 favorite to Miles Ahead in February’s Listed Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes.
He finished seventh in Dubai in the Group 1 Golden Shaheen and fourth in the Smile Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream Park earlier this month. He did have his head turned in that race at the start. But even as the 9/10 co-favorite, Drain the Clock still finished behind 22/1 Pudding and 15/1 Absolute Grit.
Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes/Del Mar
Morning Line (Jockey/Trainer)
- Desmond Doss, 10/1 (Florent Geroux/Steve Miyadi)
- Shaaz, 7/2 (Juan Hernandez/Bob Baffert)
- Bagboss, 8/1 (Umberto Rispoli/Brendan Walsh)
- Drain the Clock, 4/1 (Drayden Van Dyke/Saffie Joseph Jr.)
- Principe Carlo, 6/1 (Victor Espinoza/Librado Barocio)
- Howbelt, 20/1 (Abel Cedillo/Mark Glatt)
- Letsgetlucky, 6/1 (Tyler Baze/Brian Koriner)
- Diamond Oops, 12/1 (Ryan Curatolo/Patrick Biancone)
- American Theorem, 4/1 (Joe Bravo/George Papaprodromou)
- Get Her Number, 12/1 (Ramon Vazquez/Peter Miller)
Two other intriguing selections bear consideration: the aforementioned Principe Carlo and Kentucky shipper Bagboss (8/1). Principe Carlo has knocked on the door his last two races: the Triple Bend and the Grade 2 San Carlos, when he finished second to Cezanne at 16/1. A $20,000 claim in October 2020, the 6-year-old horse won two of his last five, including a February starter allowance at Santa Anita.
Bagboss comes in on a two-race winning streak with speed figures that put him in the mix here. But both of those Churchill Downs races were allowances or allowance optional claimers. This is the Speightstown colt’s first stakes start.