Abel Cedillo Ready To Defend Bing Crosby Title; ‘Cup Will Keep Flavien Prat Away

Abel Cedillo relocated from the Northern to Southern California racing circuit for the Del Mar summer meeting of 2019 and proved he belonged by winning 25 races and finishing third in the rider standings behind Flavien Prat and Drayden Van Dyke.

Cedillo, a 31-year-old native of Guatemala, then polished his credentials by winning the Bing Crosby Season meeting, edging Van Dyke, 13-12. Cedillo’s back, represented by veteran agent Tom Knust, and booked to ride all but one of the 18 races on the opening weekend cards when the meeting commences on Saturday.

“I feel great and I’m happy to be back (for the meeting),” Cedillo said Thursday by telephone. “I came down (to Southern California) to ride good horses and big races and that’s what I’ve been doing, so I’m very happy about everything.”

Cedillo won 30 races at the 2020 summer meeting as Prat edged newcomer Umberto Rispoli, 50-49, for the riding title. But Cedillo had the honor of being chosen by trainer Bob Baffert to ride one of the world’s best horses, Maximum Security, when Luis Saez tested positive for COVID-19. And Cedillo came through with victories in the San Diego Handicap and TVG Pacific Classic.

Saez returned as Maximum Security finished second to stablemate Improbable in the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita on September 26 and will be aboard for the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic a week from Saturday. Cedillo will be here, working on that title defense.

Cedillo and Van Dyke were tied going into the final day of the 2019 Bing Crosby meeting. Cedillo won the first race, aboard Wound Tight for trainer Bob Hess, Jr., and the best Van Dyke could do on the day was two close runner-up finishes.

“I didn’t come (south) thinking about winning meets, so it was great that it happened,” Cedillo said.

Prat has won the last two summer meet riding championships and three of the last four. But the 28-year-old Frenchman’s only fall crown here came in 2017 which was, possibly not coincidentally, when Del Mar hosted the Breeders’ Cup.

His chances of prevailing this year look severely compromised from the outset because of conflicts with the Breeders’ Cup which starts its two-day run a week from today at Keeneland.

Prat was in Lexington, Ky., this morning planning to work two horses for trainer Simon Callaghan that he’ll ride in Cup events: Harvest Moon in the $2 million Distaff and Madone in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf. Harvest Moon won the Torrey Pines Stakes here last summer and Madone the Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf. Heavy rain in Kentucky resulted in postponement of those works until tomorrow, at which time Prat also will work 2019 TVG Pacific Classic winner Higher Power for  trainer John Sadler.

Even if today’s works had gone as scheduled, COVID protocols precluded Prat from returning to ride the opening weekend of the Bing Crosby meeting. So he will be replaced on eight scheduled mounts Saturday and remain in Kentucky through the Breeders’ Cup the following weekend.

Thus, Prat will miss the first third of the 15-day Crosby season.

Agent Derek Lawson has Prat scheduled to ride seven of the 14 Breeders’ Cup races and is working on one more possibility. Prat’s best chance would appear to be Eddie Read Stakes winner United for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella in the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Rispoli and Juan Hernandez are the other Del Mar-based jockeys with Breeders’ Cup calls. They’ll ride here over the weekend – Rispoli has 16 scheduled mounts in 18 races and Hernandez 15 – before heading to the Bluegrass State.

The post Abel Cedillo Ready To Defend Bing Crosby Title; ‘Cup Will Keep Flavien Prat Away appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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