Recent grade I winner Zensational is the clear standout in the $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 8 at Del Mar in a field that was buoyed by the surprise addition of Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT) victor Global Hunter.
Global Hunter's inclusion brought the field to six for the six-furlong Polytrack event.
Supplementing Global Hunter to the race cost owners L-Bo Racing and Monte Pyle and trainer A.C. Avila $3,000 to enter. While the Argentina-bred son of Jade Hunter has tried synthetic surfaces before — he is winless in five attempts — the 6-year-old has never raced at such a short distance in his 25-race career. Six of his seven triumphs have come on turf, including the July 25 Eddie Read, which he won by one length. Global Hunter's lone dirt win came in his native country in February 2007.
Avila had been expected to enter Rush With Thunder, who ran second to Zensational in the Triple Bend Handicap (gr. I) at Hollywood Park July 5.
The supplement will do little to alter the Bing Crosby equation. In an obviously depleted West Coast sprint division, Zensational towers over the other entrants, who other than Global Hunter, have yet to win a graded stakes. He'll break from the rail with Victor Espinoza aboard.
Owned by Zayat Stables, Zensational won the July 5 Triple Bend in his stakes debut for trainer Bob Baffert.
Zensational, a 3-year-old son of Unbridled's Song, led the Triple Bend field all the way and won the seven-furlong test in 1:21.34. He opened up a two-length advantage in the lane and won by one length over Rush With Thunder while lugging in a bit during the final furlong.
The victory for the gray/roan colt was his third in four races this year as he jumped from a first-level allowance win into grade I company during the Hollywood meet. Zensational has been favored in every one of his five starts.
Bamaha Breeze should present the biggest obstacle to Zensational. Trained by Stve Miyadi for CO2 Racing and partners, the 4-year-old Northern California-based colt won a restricted five-furlong stakes on the turf at Hollywood May 21. The California-bred son of Lord Carson is coming off a runner-up performance in a handicap at the Stockton fair July 18. Bamaha Breeze has not been worse than third in nine lifetime starts, including six victories.
Michael House's Delta Storm comes into the Crosby with back-to-back turf wins at Hollywood, most recently capturing the Robert Kerlan Memorial Handicap at six furlongs June 18. The 8-year-old Storm Boot gelding, claimed by Mike Mitchell for $40,000 in May 2008, has won 11 of 28 lifetime races and $388,523.
Hurry Up Austin makes his 2009 debut for trainer Mel Stute. The 5-year-old son of Lake Austin won the Kangaroo Court during Santa Anita's Oak tree meet last fall. Hurry Up Austin sizzled a half-mile drill Aug. 5 in a bullet :46 1/5.
Talkin to Mom Roo, a $40,000 claim by Ted H. West for owner Jeffrey Sengara in March 2008, comes off a hard-fought 1 1/4-length win in a conditional allowance race at Hollywood July 12. The tough 6-year-old gelding has won five of 19 lifetime starts but has limited stakes experience.
The conditions for the Crosby changed this year from a handicap to a stakes, meaning that according to allowance conditions Global Hunter will carry high weight of 123 pounds, Zensational 120 and the rest 119.
$300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes (gr. I, Race 8, 5:30 p.m.), 3 & Up, 6 furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Zensational (KY), V Espinoza, 120, B Baffert
2. Bamaha Breeze (CA), M A Pedroza, 119, S Miyadi
3. Global Hunter (ARG), C S Nakatani, 123, A C Avila
4. Delta Storm (KY), J Rosario, 119, M R Mitchell
5. Hurry Up Austin (FL), K Kaenel, 119, M F Stute
6. Talkin to Mom Roo (TX), T Baze, 119, T H West