Published Friday, August 20th, 2021   ( 3 months ago )

Sprinters on the Turf Sunday in Del Mar's Green Flash 'Cap

Collusion Illusion | Benoit Photo

Collusion Illusion © Benoit Photo

Eight fast horses will give the Del Mar lawn a trim Sunday afternoon when they match up in the 19th edition of the Grade III, $100,000 Green Flash Handicap.

They won’t have to run far – only five furlongs worth – but they will have to go very quickly if they want to come away a winner in the test for 3-year-olds and up.

Likely favorites in the dash are the two topweights – MyRacehorse, Agnew or Orr, et al’s Collusion Illusion, who’ll be trying turf for the first time and will carry 124 pounds and Slam Dunk Racing and Old Bones Racing Stable’s Gregorian Chant, who rarely runs on anything but the green and will tote 123.

Collusion Illusion, who is trained by Mark Glatt and will be ridden by Del Mar’s leading rider, Flavien Prat, won the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes at six furlongs here last summer as a 3-year-old. The colt by Twirling Candy has five victories in nine lifetime starts and $474,751 in earnings so far. He hasn’t run since last December and will be trying grass racing for the initial time, but his brilliance and his conditioner’s ability to get horses to fire off layoffs makes him dangerous.

Gregorian Chant, a 5-year-old gelding who was bred in England, appears to have found a new way to go with sprint races after traveling around two turns for most of his early career. The gray, who is trained by Phil D’Amato and will be handled by Juan Hernandez, has won three of four turf sprints recently and has brought his bank account up to the $269,680 mark. He didn’t have much luck in a turf stakes sprint in New York in June, but has been training forwardly on the lawn at Del Mar since.

Del Mar morning line maker Jon White tabs Gregorian Chant as the likely favorite in the Green Flash at 5/2, with Collusion Illusion at 7/2.

Here’s the complete field for the sprint in post position order with riders and morning line odds:

Ruis Racing’s Kneedeepinsnow (Drayden Van Dyke, 20-1); Rafter, JR Ranch and STD Racing Stable’s Texas Wedge (Umberto Rispoli, 6-1); Nick Alexander’s Lieutenant Dan (Giovanni Franco, 7/2); Collusion Illusion; Hailey or Wood’s Chasin Munny (Jose Valdivia, Jr., 10-1); Juan Garcia’s Little Juanito (Ricky Gonzalez, 6-1); Hogan or Hogan’s Give Me the Lute (Kent Desormeaux, 6-1), and Gregorian Chant.

Lieutenant Dan is an ultra-steady sort who has finished in the top three in 13 of his 14 starts, banking $483,740 along the way. The California homebred by owner Alexander’s prized stallion Grazen won an allowance sprint on the turf at Del Mar at this distance on July 23 in his most recent outing.

Texas Wedge is a Colonel John gelding who specializes in turf sprints. He’s a six-time winner of $482,615 who has a win and a second in three tries on the Del Mar lawn.

Little Juanito has won four turf sprints – three of them at Del Mar – and will be stepping up to stakes company for the first time Sunday.

Give Me the Lute was a winner on the grass in an overnight stakes at Golden Gate Fields on June 12 in his first start in seven months.

First post on Sunday for the 10-race card is 2 p.m.