08/01/2011 1:30PM

Del Mar: Euroears to zero in on BC Sprint

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Benoit & Associates
Euroears, with Rafael Bejarano riding, wins the Bing Crosby.

DEL MAR, Calif. - A track-record performance from Euroears in Sunday’s Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes has left the 7-year-old firmly on course for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs in November.

How he gets there has yet to be determined by owner Jim Helzer and trainer Bob Baffert, Baffert said on Monday.

“The main thing is to get him to the Breeders’ Cup,” Baffert said. “I don’t know how. I’ve got to figure that out.”

The two obvious prep races in Southern California are on tracks over which Euroears has won. Later this month, Euroears can start in the $250,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes over seven furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 28. Another option is the $250,000 Ancient Title Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 8, four weeks before the Breeders’ Cup. Last January, in his first start for Baffert, Euroears won the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Stakes at Santa Anita.

Helzer said Sunday that Euroears may have only one race before the BC Sprint.

Earlier this year, Euroears made one start after the Palos Verdes, finishing second to the world-class Rocket Man in the $2 million Golden Shaheen Sprint in Dubai in March. The race took its toll, Baffert said.

“When he came back from Dubai, I was ready to retire him,” Baffert said. “He was really jarred up. It was dicey there for a while.”

Through the spring, Euroears improved, and Baffert was raving about his chances before the Bing Crosby. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Euroears led throughout and won by 1 1/4 lengths over even-money favorite Smiling Tiger, who broke slowly. Euroears was timed in 1:08.15, breaking Cost of Freedom’s 2009 mark of 1:08.29.

“He ran like he was working,” Baffert said. “It was amazing the way he was working.”

Preamble going for fourth straight

Preamble will be after his fourth consecutive win in an optional claimer in Wednesday’s second race, but trainer Richard Mandella fears the seven-furlong distance is too short.

“I wanted to go farther, but it’s the only race I’ve got,” Mandella said. “He might get behind and finish, and he might finish and win.”

Owned by B. Wayne Hughes, Preamble has won races ranging from 6 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/16 miles this year. In Wednesday’s race, Preamble is part of a field of five that includes Monterey Jazz, unraced in 15 months. Trained by Craig Dollase, Monterey Jazz is a multiple stakes winner, including the Grade 2 American Handicap at Hollywood Park in 2009.

Baffert starts Indian Firewater, who won the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes at Santa Anita in January.

Switch has met the best

Switch won two Grade 1 races at Santa Anita over seven furlongs during the winter, but has lost her last three starts, racing against the best fillies in the nation.

After a second by a head to Miss Match in the Santa Margarita Stakes at Santa Anita in March, Switch was second to Havre de Grace in the Apple Blossom Invitational in April and second to Blind Luck in the Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park in June.

Of those, only Switch, from Sadler’s barn, will start in Saturday’s $300,000 Clement Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar. She faces a field expected to field include Freedom Star, St Trinians, Ultra Blend, and Washington Bridge.

Switch worked seven furlongs in 1:24.60 on Sunday, her second work at Del Mar this summer. “I don’t think it hurts to have extra time on the track,” Sadler said. “We’re confident where we are at.”