08/01/2010 9:30PM

Del Mar: Tiger catches a (fast) break


Smiling Tiger held up his end of the bargain in Sunday's Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes, breaking sharply and taking a clear lead on the backstretch. The expected duel with the heavily favored Cost of Freedom never materialized after Cost of Freedom broke in the air and bobbled, losing all chance.

Smiling Tiger ($17.80) set fractions of 22.41 and 44.62 seconds, and held off a threat from Scenic Blast to win by 1 1-2 lengths, running six furlongs in 1:09.21.

Smiling Tiger was the lone 3-year-old in the Bing Crosby field. His win continues an odd trend in the California sprint division this year. No horse has won more than one graded sprint stakes this year in Southern California. The next race is the division is the $300,000 Pat O'Brien Stakes over seven furlongs, a  Grade 1 race on Aug. 28.

Scenic Blast, a Group 1 winner in Europe and Australia last year, may start in that race. Judging from sprint division results this year, it would be fitting if he won that race. The Bing Crosby was his graded stakes debut in the United States.