Del Mar hosts a double feature Saturday with the $100,000 Shared Belief Stakes, a Road to the Kentucky Derby series prep, and the $250,000 Bing Crosby Stakes (G1), a “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Challenge prep for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Keeneland in November.
Shared Belief Stakes
All eyes will be on Honor A. P. in the 1 1/16-mile Shared Belief as the John Shirreffs trainee will look to follow up on a strong, 2 3/4-length tally over Authentic in the June 6 Santa Anita Derby (G1) after running second to that rival in the San Felipe (G2) in early March.
Trainer Bob Baffert has entered three of the six horses in the Shared Belief, but not all are expected to start. Los Alamitos Derby (G3) winner Uncle Chuck is more likely to be re-routed to Saratoga next week for the Travers (G1), which would leave Thousand Words and stakes newcomer Cezanne as possibly the main rivals.
The Shared Belief will distribute Kentucky Derby qualifying points of 50-20-10-5 to the top four finishers.
Bing Crosby Stakes
Multiple Grade 1 winner McKinzie is the marquee name in the 6-furlong Bing Crosby, though the son of Street sense has never run that short. However, the Baffert charge has won twice in graded company at 7 furlongs, in the 2018 Malibu (G1) and in the Triple Bend (G2) on June 7.
McKinzie could bypass a title defense in Saturday’s Whitney (G1) for this following a last-out fifth in the Metropolitan H. (G1).
Other notables in the field are Desert Law, a close second in 2019 Bing Crosby and third in his June 13 season debut against state-bred company; Collusion Illusion, a multiple graded stakes winner and last-out scorer in the Laz Barrera (G3); and Fashionably Fast, runner-up to McKinzie in the Triple Bend.
Three other Bing Crosby hopefuls — Lexitonian, Law Abidin Citizen, and Wildman Jack — have all won at Grade 3 level.