Midwestern invader Beau's Town, impressively handled by Patrick Valenzuela, blazed to an impressive 1 1/2-length victory in the $191,000 Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) over a strong group of older sprinters.
The Cole Norman-trained 5-year-old chestnut gelding ran the six-furlong Crosby distance in 1:07 4/5, only a fifth of a second off the track record owned by King of Cricket in 1973. It was the fastest time for the Crosby since Bad 'n Big's 1:07 4/5 in 1978. When Crazy Kid won a division of the Crosby in 1962 his 1:07 4/5 was a world's record for six furlongs.
The Arkansas-bred son of Beau's Genius, a star sprinter in the Midwest and South, gave Norman a graded victory with his first starter in California.
"I love California," Norman said. "First time here, first time to run one here and everything went well. I'd love to race here some day."
Valenzuela was a bit overwhelmed.
"I didn't know he was this fast," he said. "When I asked him, he just cut like I couldn't believe. He really went. Cole just told me to keep him in the race. He said if he dropped the bit to tap him on the shoulder and get him back in it. You know, the track isn't that fast today. And still he ran a time like that. If the track had been souped up, he would have broken the track record."
Captain Squire, the 2-1 favorite under Gary Stevens, was a hard-trying second, a neck in front of Bluesthestandard, with Avanzado fourth in the field of nine older sprinters. Kona Gold, trying to win the Crosby for the third time in his lengthy career, finished fifth. It was his first loss at Del Mar in six starts.
Beau's Town, earning $120,000 for his owners, Bob Beck and Dave Hulkewicz, recorded his tenth win in 14 lifetime starts and increased his career earnings to $499,400.
Beau's Town dueled with Giovanetti for the lead after about a half-mile after splits of :21 4/5 and :44, and soon established the lead. He opened a daylight advantage into the stretch and held off a challenge from tiring Captain Squire, ridden by Gary Stevens. Bluesthestandard and Martin Pedroza ralled to defeat Avanzado by two lengths for third, 3 1/2 lengths behind the winner.
Norman, talking about the way the race unfolded, said, "I was a little concerned when I saw the early fractions and at the quarter pole I saw (Captain Squire) on the outside and I just said , 'Well, let's see what we got here.'
"He went onto his right lead and there he went. They came running at us late, but we held them off. I know the horse; he needs to be in the race. He can do it on the lead or he can be right there stalking. I told Pat to let him break and let him do his thing. "
Stevens said Captain Squire did well in his first race since the Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) on March 29, when he was third.
"We just ran into a monster," Stevens said. "My horse ran great. He ran really well coming off that layoff. At the top of the stretch, the way he was running, I thought I'd win. I was counting my money at the eighth pole. But the winner just scooted away from us."
Solis, aboard Kona Gold for the 29th time in the 9-year-old gelding's career, was disappointed. Kona Gold has won 14 times with earnings of nearly $2.3 million.
"He tried," Solis said. That 1:07 was just a little too fast for us. He's still a champion in my heart."
The 5-1 third choice in a field of nine paid $12.20, $5.60 and $3.80. Captain's Squire returned $3.80 and $3. Bluesthestandard's show was $4. The $2 exacta was worth $44.40.