07/24/2012 2:36PM

Del Mar: Bing Crosby to match Amazombie vs. The Factor

Audrey C. Crosby
Amazombie hasn't raced since finishing second to Shackleford in the Churchill Downs Stakes.

DEL MAR, Calif. – There will a good old-fashioned shootout at Del Mar on Sunday afternoon, when the speedy The Factor takes on defending sprint champion Amazombie in the Grade 1, $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes at six furlongs.

Amazombie finished third in last year’s Crosby, but used that as a springboard to an Eclipse Award. He subsequently won the Ancient Title at Santa Anita, then the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. His trainer and co-owner, Bill Spawr, has a similar itinerary set for this year, with the added bonus that this year’s Breeders’ Cup will be run at Santa Anita, giving Amazombie the home-field advantage.

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First things first, though. Amazombie will be making his first start in 2 1/2 months in the Crosby, and the prospective small field – just four or five runners – should play to the advantage of The Factor, who has more speed.

“The Factor, if there’s a soft pace, he keeps going,” Spawr said on a national teleconference on Tuesday.

Six furlongs, though, is right in Amazombie’s wheelhouse.

“There’s usually more speed that’s going to come back to him,” Spawr said. “That certainly helps. But there’s a lack of speed in this race.”

Amazombie has not raced since finishing second in the seven-furlong Churchill Downs Stakes on the Kentucky Derby undercard on May 5. Talk about a key race! The winner, Shackleford, came back to win the Met Mile. And the third-place finisher, Gantry, took the Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder.

Waiting for the Crosby, Spawr said, was by design. Amazombie skipped the Triple Bend at Betfair Hollywood Park and will race exclusively in six-furlong races the rest of the year.

“The race against Shackleford really knocked him out,” Spawr said.

“He was tired and lost weight.”

After the Crosby, Amazombie will run in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship – the new name for the Ancient Title – and then the Breeders’ Cup.

“They’re on our home base,” Spawr said.

In addition to Amazombie and The Factor, the Crosby field is expected to include Capital Account, Don Tito, and possibly Italian Rules.

The Factor worked a half-mile in 47.40 seconds on Tuesday morning at Del Mar for trainer Bob Baffert.