07/31/2011 9:27PM

Del Mar: Euroears completes a coast-to-coast double for Baffert

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Benoit & Associates
Euroears got loose on the lead and never looked back in the Bing Crosby.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Euroears was loose on the lead. Smiling Tiger had a poor start. That was the difference between first and second in Sunday’s $250,000 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar.

Euroears ($6.80) was never challenged on the lead, led by as many as 2 1/2 lengths, and finished in track record time of 1:08.17.

“He’s amazing,” said winning rider Rafael Bejarano. “He has a lot of heart when he makes the lead.”

WATCH REPLAY: Bing Crosby Stakes »

Smiling Tiger, the even-money favorite, broke slowly, essentially losing all chance for his fourth career Grade 1 stakes win. He recovered to be placed, but left jockey Joel Rosario wondering what could have happened with a better start.

“He broke a little slow,” Rosario said. “The other horse was so impressive. We got beat today. The other horse had a better trip.”

The victory gave trainer Bob Baffert a Grade 1 coast-to-coast double on Sunday. Earlier in the day, he won the Haskell Invitational with Coil, a race that led Baffert to travel to New Jersey on Sunday to see that race first-hand.

“I hope Bob was as excited at his end as we are at this end,” said Jim Helzer, the prominent Texas-based owner of Euroears, standing in the Del Mar winner’s circle.

The Grade 1 Bing Crosby was Euroears’s first start since a second to the world-class Rocket Man in the $2 million Golden Shaheen in Dubai in March. In recent weeks, Baffert raved about Euroears’s preparation for the Bing Crosby, and the form showed.

With Smiling Tiger not offering an early threat, Bejarano had Euroears in front by at least a length through early fractions of 22.13 and 44.26 seconds. Euroears kept his advantage in early stretch and the result was never doubt through the stretch.

“He made an amazing run,” Bejarano said. “He loves this track.”

Euroears, 7, has won both of his domestic races this year, having started the season in the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Handicap at Santa Anita in January. A horse by Langfuhr, Euroears has won 10 of 19 starts and $1,041,562.

Helzer said in the winner’s circle that Euroears was supplemented to the Breeders’ Cup program earlier this summer with the intent of a start in the BC Sprint at Churchill Downs in November. The same race is on Smiling Tiger’s agenda.