Pico Central won last year's Vosburgh (gr. I) impressively over Eclipse winner Speightstown.

Pico Central won last year's Vosburgh (gr. I) impressively over Eclipse winner Speightstown.

AP/NYRA Adam Coglianese

Pico Central Has Credentials to Win Crosby

(from Del Mar report)
Multiple grade I winner Pico Central is the clear headliner for Sunday's $300,000 Bing Crosby Handicap (gr. I) at Del Mar, but he could be vulnerable after an absence of four months.

The field of nine sprinters will go 6 furlongs in the 60th running of the Crosby.

Pico Central had a remarkable run last year when he claimed three grade I wins in New York, including the conquest of eventual Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) and Eclipse Award winner Speightstown.

Owned by Gary Tanaka and trained by Paolo Lobo, the 6-year-old dark bay Pico Central was third in last year's 7-furlong Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) in his only lifetime start at Del Mar. In his only start of 2005, Pico Central finished fourth in the Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) in Dubai March 26 and now faces a stern test in the Crosby.

Pico Central will carry high weight of 123, including a new rider, Mike Smith. The Brazilian-bred son of 1985 Kentucky Derby winner Spend a Buck, who is not nominated to the Breeders' Cup, spots his rivals from seven to 11 pounds.

Battle Won, winner of the Churchill Downs Handicap (gr. II) at 7 furlongs May 7, finished second behind track-record-setter Kelly's Landing in Churchill's 6-furlong Aristides Handicap (gr. III) June 25. The winner traveled the distance in 1:07.59 to break the record of 1:07.77, set by Kona Gold in winning the 2000 Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I). Trainer Chuck Simon arrived at Del Mar Thursday and expressed satisfaction with the way his colt has trained here.

Three-year-old Storm Wolf, who will carry 114 pounds, has won three straight races, including Hollywood Park's seven-furlong Lazaro Barrera Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds in his most recent outing May 21.

Pt's Grey Eagle will be returning to sprints after fading in the 1 1 /4-mile Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I). He won the Ancient Title (gr. I) last fall, making him the only grade I winner in the field besides Pico Central.

Top Commander comes from Lone Star Park for trainer Cole Norman, who saddled Beau's Town to win the 2003 Crosby. Taste of Paradise is winless in four starts this year but won the 2003 San Diego Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar.

$300,000 Bing Crosby Handicap (gr. I, Race 8, 5:35 p.m.), 3 & up, 6 furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Pt's Grey Eagle (KY), 114, Alex Bisono
2. Areyoutalkintome (CA), 116, Tyler Baze
3. Greg's Gold (CA, 112, David Flores
4. Battle Won (KY), 116, Patrick Valenzuela
5. Storm Wolf (KY), 114, Alex Solis
6. Top Commander (KY), 114, Garrett Gomez
7. Stormin' Lyon (KY), 114, Roberto Gonzalez
8. Pico Central (BRZ), 123, Mike Smith
9. Taste of Paradise (KY), 114, Martin Pedroza