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Chief Cicatriz at Del Mar for Grade 1 Bing Crosby on Saturday

Chief Cicatriz pretty much dictated his own terms in the Dark Star Cup at Canterbury Park in June, but the competition is at another level in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Bing Crosby at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.

Just the same, trainer Shawn Davis figures with good reason that his horse belongs in this lineup and says he’s training better than he has the past few races, even though his times don’t always reflect it.

The Chief turned in a Beyer of 110 en route to a Grade III Stakes win at Churchill Downs in June of 2018, the best speed figure over that duration of any horse in Saturday’s field. He has been running below that figure since, but Davis says he’s showing signs of improvement nonetheless.

“I think he fits in this one real well. He’s running better now than he has in some time,” Davis said.

The Chief ran a 96 Beyer in the Dark Star Cup, his last outing, on June 22.

“He needed that race,” Davis said. “I’ve noticed that he doesn’t work here [at Del Mar] or at Canterbury real fast, but his attitude is as good as I’ve seen it. His training has been outstanding out here (San Diego). He didn’t work real fast, but his attitude’s great.”

Ruben Fuentes has the mount in the Bing Crosby.

Chief Cicatriz, 12 to 1, will break from the No.6 hole in the eight-horse field that includes plenty of speed in a race that could set up perfectly for a closer such as Air Strike, who finished that way to win the Grade II Triple Bend Stakes .