Dual grade I winner Goldencents returns to Del Mar to face recent Triple Bend (gr. I) winner Declassify in the $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes (gr. I) July 26, a race the Doug O'Neill trainee finished second in last year.
Runner-up to Palace Malice in his most recent start, the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park June 7, Goldencents will be cutting back to six furlongs in the Crosby. The 4-year-old Into Mischief colt missed by a head to posthumous Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Points Offthebench in the 2013 Crosby.
This year's Bing Crosby is the eighth of 10 races on Del Mar's Sunday card with a 5:30 p.m. PDT scheduled post. A field of eight is signed on. The winner of this year's race, if nominated, earns automatic entry into the 2014 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IT) this fall at Santa Anita Park.
Interestingly, only three of the Crosby entrants have ever raced on turf, and only one, Indexical, has a victory. Indexical won an optional claiming race on the Santa Anita hillside turf course May 17.
Goldencents also ran second on Del Mar's Polytrack in last year's Pat O'Brien Stakes (gr. II), followed in the fall by a gate-to-wire 2 3/4-length score in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I). The bay colt's only start this season came in the Met Mile, when he took the lead after pressing the pace into the stretch but yielded in the drive to Palace Malice.
Rafael Bejarano was injured at the time but will be back aboard Goldencents, who drew post 2 as the 123-pound co-top weight in the Crosby. Since transferring to Del Mar from Santa Anita earlier this month, Goldencents has posted back-to-back bullet moves, most recently clocking three furlongs July 24 in a sizzling :34 1/5. A five-time winner with five seconds from 14 lifetime races for W.C. Racing, Goldencents has banked $2,224,000.
Kaleem Shah's Declassify was a game winner of the seven-furlong Triple Bend June 28 for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. The lightly raced 4-year-old Orientate colt fought on the lead throughout before prevailing by a nose over Cyclometer in a time of 1:22.03.
In his only other start this season, Declassify was second to Bing Crosby entrant Seeking the Sherif in an allowance event May 16 at Santa Anita. The dark bay has won three of five starts and will be ridden for the first time by Mike Smith. Martin Garcia, the only rider Declassify has known, is in New Jersey Sunday to ride Bayern in the $1 million William Hill Haskell Invitational (gr. I).
Declassify, who breaks from gate 3, also carries 123.
Seeking the Sherif, from the Ron Ellis barn, has won four in a row and steps into stakes company for the first time for owners Tim Goodwin and Steven and Sabina Romo Zolotas. The 5-year-old Officer gelding has won six of eight lifetime starts and will be ridden once more by Edwin Maldonado.
Big Macher won the Potrero Grande Stakes (gr. II) April 12 in a career best effort at Santa Anita but injured a foot in a workout about a month afterward. This will be the first start back for the California-bred 4-year-old son of Beau Genius, who has been working superbly for trainer Ricahrd Baltas. Big Macher owns a bullet five-furlong workout in :59 4/5 over the Del Mar track July 18, best of 54 on the morning. Tyler Baze rides.
C R K Stable's Kobe's Back comes off a fourth in the Woody Stephens Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park June 7 for trainer John Sadler. The 3-year-old gray son of Flatter takes on older horses for the first time looking to snap a four-race losing streak dating back to his romping victory in the San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) in February. Joe Talamo will be aboard for the first time.
A second 3-year-old in the field, Pablo Del Monte, makes his first appearance since weakening to sixth after setting a pressured pace in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) May 17. Prior to that, the Wesley Ward-trained son of Giant's Causeway was third in the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) at Keeneland, where he began his career with back-to-back victories over Polytrack.
Competing the field are 3-year-old Indexical and Wine Police, third and fifth, respectively, in the Triple Bend.
Del Mar, Sunday, July 27, 2014, Race 8
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1Indexical (KY) Mario Gutierrez 115 Ben D. A. Cecil - 2 2Goldencents (KY) Rafael Bejarano 123 Doug F. O'Neill - 3 3Declassify (KY) Mike E. Smith 123 Bob Baffert - 4 4Pablo Del Monte (FL) Victor Espinoza 115 Wesley A. Ward - 5 5Seeking the Sherif (KY) Edwin A. Maldonado 119 Ronald W. Ellis - 6 6Big Macher (CA) Tyler Baze 121 Richard Baltas - 7 7Kobe's Back (KY) Joseph Talamo 117 John W. Sadler - 8 8Wine Police (KY) Elvis Trujillo 119 Peter Miller -
Del Mar, Sunday, July 27, 2014, Race 8