Euroears blazed to a Del Mar Polytrack record for six furlongs with a front-running win in the $250,000 Bing Crosby Stakes, giving trainer Bob Baffert grade I wins on both coasts July 31 (VIDEO).
Baffert's 3-year-old colt Coil captured the $1 million Resorts Casino Hotel Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park a few hours before the Bing Crosby.
Euroears, leading from gate to wire under Rafael Bejarano, was clocked in 1:08.17. The 7-year-old son of Langfuhr shaved .12 of a second off the old mark set by Cost of Freedom Aug. 9, 2008, winning by 1 1/4 lengths. Euroears surpassed $1 million in career earnings with the victory.
“He’s an amazing horse. He has lots of heart on the lead," Bejarano said. "He wants to be in front and he’s a different horse when he is. I thought I would have some pressure up front, but there was none. When we turned for home, I asked him a little and he really went."
Owned by James and Marilyn Helzer, Euroears made his first appearance since running second to Rocket Man in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) March 26.
Out of the Heff mare Unky and Ally, Euroears was bred in Kentucky by Gary and Bonnie Peterson.
Defending Crosby winner Smiling Tiger, the even-money favorite in the field of six, spotted the field several lengths when he was slow away from the gate from the rail post. The multiple grade I winner, ridden by Joel Rosario, charged late on the outside to pip Amazombie and Mike Smith by a half-length for second.
Baffert gave Euroears plenty of time to recover from his trip to Dubai and the powerfully built chestnut horse had turned in a couple of exceptional drills at Del Mar in preparation for his return.
Bejarano hustled him away from post 4 to an immediate lead on the inside. After a fairly conservative opening quarter-mile of :22.13, he matched the split with a second quarter timed in :44.26. Euroears had opened up on the field by the quarter pole to lead by 2 1/2 lengths.
Euroears drifted out a bit in the lane, but after completing five furlongs in :55.91, he came home under Bejarano's urging in :12.26 for the final eighth of a mile. Amazombie and Kinsale King tracked the leader to mid-stretch but could not keep pace in the final furlong as Smiling Tiger rallied.
Euroears won for the 10th time in 19 lifetime starts and increased his earnings to $1,041,562 with the Bing Crosby purse of $150,000.
“That’s his style (pure speed) and he ran a huge race today," said Baffert assistant Mike Marlow, who saddled the winner with the boss in New Jersey. "Coming back from Dubai he had time to recover and he runs well fresh. This track today wasn’t favoring that kind of performance. But it didn’t look like he was extended that much even at the wire."
Smiling Tiger, a smashing front-running winner of the Triple Bend Handicap (gr. I) at Hollywood Park July 2, was clearly compromised by the poor start. He turned in a big effort to get up for second, racing next-to-last up the backstretch and into the turn.
“He broke just a little slow," Rosario said of the favorite. "I don’t know if the post bothered him or not. I don’t think so. He was just a little slow out of there. Then I didn’t rush him. I just let him run his race. He ran well, but that winner had an easy lead and he was too much at the finish.”
It was the second time Smiling Tiger was beaten by Euroears this season, the first loss coming in the Palos Verdes Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Jan. 22.
Sent off as the second choice, Euroears carried 121 pounds and paid $6.80, $3.60, and $2.80. He keyed a $13.60 exacta with Smiling Tiger. The Jeff Bonde trainee carried top weight of 123 and returned $2.60 and $2.10. Amazombie was $2.40 to show.
Coffee Boy was scratched.