George Papaprodromou’s faith in American Theorem paid off at Del Mar July 30 in the $400,000, Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes.
“We’ve always believed in this horse,” said the emotional trainer after he sprinted to the winner’s circle nearly as fast as his charge.
American Theorem gave Papaprodromou his first Grade 1 win by effectively handling a talented field of sprinters in the six-furlong Bing Crosby. Being a son of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, the ridgling seemed designed for longer races, which is where Papaprodromou tried him at first. But American Theorem is showing a devastating turn of foot at shorter distances.
When the gate opened in the Bing Crosby, Drain the Clock burst into the lead, with Principe Carlo going right with him to his outside and Shaaz, the 1.70-1 favorite, keeping pace on the rail. American Theorem, sent off as the 7-1 fifth choice, broke sharply in second from post nine for jockey Joe Bravo and then sat off the early pacesetters.
Letsgetlucky moved up to join the front-runners, as Drain the Clock completed the first quarter-mile in :22.28. All four of the leaders were vying for position into the turn. As American Theorem began his run, Bravo looked ahead and realized he would have to send his horse around all of them.
“He was real comfortable on the backside, moving easy,” Bravo said. “And then when we came to the turn, I didn’t think I wanted to go six wide, but he just had his momentum up, and we just kept on going.”
The only gray in the field, American Theorem began passing rivals with undeniable authority. He had so much momentum that neither the wide trip nor Bravo losing his whip on the turn mattered. He zoomed to the lead at the top of the stretch, at one point leading by three lengths.
“I dropped my stick on the turn, and that will make you nervous,” said Bravo. “But he didn’t need it.”
Get Her Number closed late, but he was never going to catch American Theorem, who scored by 1 1/2 lengths and stopped the timer in 1:08.67. Letsgetlucky finished third, 4 1/4 lengths behind Get Her Number.
“The race turned out the way we planned and we made one run,” Papaprodromou said. “We knew with the post that we would have to go a little wide, but it worked out perfect.”
The Bing Crosby not only rewarded Papaprodromou with his first Grade 1, it earned American Theorem a “Win & You’re In” berth to the Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint, providing paid, automatic entry Nov. 5 at Keeneland.
Fox Hill Farms downsized its operation following the death of owner Rick Porter in 2021, keeping only a limited number of horses in training, among them Royal Ship, a graded-stakes winner co-owned with Siena Farm.
Royal Ship continues to represent Fox Hill Farms well, particularly July 30 at Del Mar, where the 6-year-old gelding upset the $300,000 San Diego Handicap by outrunning come-backing Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline winner Country Grammer by 2 1/4 lengths.
The victory was his second in three races this year, following a win in the John Shear Stakes at Santa Anita Park in April, with a third in the May 30 Hollywood Gold Cup Stakes coming between the scores.
Though the veteran campaigner has run a number of top races, winning a Group 1 one in his native Brazil and taking the 2021 Californian Stakes over Country Grammer at Santa Anita, Saturday’s San Diego was arguably his best in an 18-race career. He defeated three Grade 1 winners in Country Grammer, Mandaloun, and There Goes Harvard with relative ease.—Byron King