07/27/2012 3:26PM

Del Mar: Amazombie fresh for Bing Crosby Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
Shackleford (right) outfinishes Amazombie to win the Churchill Downs Stakes on Kentucky Derby Day.

DEL MAR, Calif. – In the nearly three months since Amazombie finished second to Shackleford in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes on May 5, the performance has increased in stature.

Shackleford went on to win the Grade 1 Metropolitan Mile Handicap at Belmont Park in late May and should have a major role in one-turn races in coming months.

Amazombie had a springtime vacation, one that trainer and co-owner Bill Spawr insists has been a benefit. Amazombie’s rest comes to an end Sunday in the $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar. The Grade 1 Bing Crosby is a vital race in Amazombie’s season, one that Spawr and co-owner Tom Sanford hope will end in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.

Last fall, Amazombie won the BC  Sprint at Churchill Downs, a victory that led to him being named the champion sprinter of 2011.

Amazombie has every chance to win that title again this year. But this year’s sprint title could also go to The Factor, a five-time stakes winner who is Amazombie’s main rival in the Bing Crosby, which is run over six furlongs.

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Spawr said that Amazombie has thrived during his recent break. When jockey Mike Smith worked Amazombie a half-mile in 47 seconds Thursday, the Hall of Fame rider noticed a difference.

“Mike said he was stronger and more eager than before,” Spawr said. “I think the time off has helped. We won’t have any excuses.”

A winner of 11 of 26 starts and $1,725,378, Amazombie has started three times this year. In addition to the seven-furlong Churchill Downs, he was third behind The Factor in the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes over seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Feb. 25 and won the Grade 2 Potrero Grande Stakes there over 6 1/2 furlongs April 7.

Third in the 2011 Bing Crosby, Sunday’s race will be Amazombie’s first start over six furlongs since the BC Sprint.

There are only five entrants in the Bing Crosby. Amazombie drew the rail, with the speedy Comma to the Top to his outside. Don Tito, who won an optional claimer at Betfair Hollywood Park on July 8, is in the middle of the field, inside of two runners trained by Bob Baffert – The Factor and Capital Account.

The Factor has the speed to take the lead, while Capital Account is best as a stalker. A 5-year-old horse, Capital Account is making his stakes debut in the Bing Crosby.

Spawr has a slight concern about Amazombie’s rail draw and the pace scenario. He would prefer that the 6-year-old Amazombie be a few lengths off the pace for the first half of the race and not too close to the front.

In the Churchill Downs Stakes, Amazombie was always near the front, led in the stretch, and was beaten a length.

“I hope we don’t have to do that,” Spawr said.

“We drew the rail, and that’s compromising, but there are only five horses. For him and his style, it won’t be as big of an issue as if there were 10 horses and he would get shuffled back.”

The Factor is winless in two starts since the San Carlos, a disappointing sixth in the $2 million Golden Shaheen Sprint in Dubai in March and a second, as the 9-10 favorite, in the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 30.

“He got tired,” Baffert said. “He was a little short. The track was demanding, and he ran as hard as he could.

Baffert expects a better performance Sunday.

“He’s got no excuses,” he said. “He’s doing as well as he can do. He needs to get it done.”

matt More than 1 year ago
Funny, isn't O'Neil suspended?
Kermit Pleasant More than 1 year ago
Garcia on the Factor good choice but I wish Talamo has a chance
Douglas Rutherford More than 1 year ago
If anyone has ever followedthe true story that ( Split ) Baffert / Garcia apart : I am so surprised to see them ( Reunite ) period : of all colts , The Factor ! I have looked and looked for this story to be told before Sunday - as the Media normally Sits n Spins on these type of Hed-lnes . But it has been kept very quiet . So , IF I had the mind-set : What-ever money I brought to the track - I would wait for this race and put it all to WIN on ( 4 The Factor ) ! Then - Go all out on the 10th race with O'Neills ( 8 Pink Blanket ) ..................... This was a quiet a story between Jockey / Trainer / Agent / Relationship !
Douglas Rutherford More than 1 year ago
The Factor / M Garcia : who would have ever thought Baffert would give in to Garcia to ride again for his stable hummmmmm Garcia best not blow this one , thats for sure ! Actually , the race that looks the most Eye - Catching is in the 10th race ! There has been alot of Hype reguarding this filly of O'Neill ( 8 Pink Blanket ) . Just to the point that O'Neill happens to love were this filly is spotted Sunday . This filly ougt to be " Long Gone " once the gate opens . If everything seems true - then odds of 3 - 1 ought to be a gift ! And just hope that Longshots come into the mix for a nifty pay-off .
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Comma will keep The Factor entertained early, so we'll have a legit race. The Factor, though, caught a break drawing outside of Comma. That's key. If The Factor was to the inside and would have had to deal with Comma lapped on him, I would say The Factor is a bad bet. But on the outside, I can see The Factor winning even if Comma really pushes him early. One other speed horse or an inside draw for The Factor, and I would've given the advantage to Amazombie.
redboy More than 1 year ago
its going to be a Barn burner
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
THe Factor Will Rule (Garcia Up=No Brainer LOLK_DS