07/26/2013 4:20PM

Del Mar: Breeders' Cup thinking outside the box for Bing Crosby


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DEL MAR, Calif. - Breeders’ Cup officials say they took an unconventional approach to the Breeders’ Cup prep race program this year by adding Sunday’s $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes to the list of Win and You’re In races for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in November.

Logical thinking would suggest that the Grade 1 Bing Crosby, run at six furlongs on a synthetic main track, would be a Win and You’re In Race for the BC Sprint on Santa Anita’s dirt track. But with the Santa Anita Sprint Championship in early October a Win and You’re In race for the BC Sprint, Josh Christian, the director of racing for the Breeders’ Cup, said he decided to try something new this year.

“I had to think outside the box,” Christian said.

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There are four Win and You’re In races for the Turf Sprint and four for the Sprint. The Turf Sprint races are the T.J. Smith Stakes in Australia in April, the Bing Crosby, the Nunthorpe Stakes at York in England in August, and the Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine in October.

The Win and You’re In races for the Sprint are the Smile Sprint at Calder on July 6, the Vosburgh at Belmont Park in September, the Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland in October, and the Santa Anita Sprint Championship.

Christian said he needed a Win and You’re In race in California for the Turf Sprint and chose the Bing Crosby.

Most of the runners in the Bing Crosby have main-track sprint form and may not start in the BC Turf Sprint even with an automatic berth. Christian emphasized that there are financial benefits to winning Sunday’s race, even if a horse is not entered in the BC Turf Sprint.

[DEL MAR 2013: Complete meet coverage, schedule, race replays]

For example, to start in the BC Turf Sprint, there is a pre-entry fee of $10,000 and an entry fee of $10,000. Those numbers rise to $15,000 in to pre-enter and $15,000 to start in the BC Sprint. If the winner of Sunday’s race is pointed for the BC Sprint, the $20,000 in credit earned from Sunday’s Win and You’re In race can be used to offset entry costs for the BC Sprint.

“You can take the benefit of the [Win and You’re In] entry to any race that you want,” Christian said.

[BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE: Win and You’re In schedule and results]