Cistron's victory in Saturday's Grade I $300,000 Bing Crosby brought trainer John Sadler and owner Kosta Hronis of Hronis Racing and his family to the Del Mar winner's circle following a stakes race for the third time in a meeting that is only nine days old.
Nobody had to ask directions. The same connections convened there for trophy presentations four times in 2018, another 12 times from when Hronis entered the business in 2010 to 2017. Cistron joins horses like Accelerate, Catalina Cruiser, Stellar Wind and others that have boosted Hronis to being the top owners at Del Mar in 2013-14 and 2017-18 and Eclipse Award winners as the top owners in North America for 2018.
“It really does not become old hat, never,” Sadler said Sunday morning. “I'm always very nervous before a race and none of them are ever easy.”
There aren't major celebrations after stakes victories, even the highest-level ones like the Crosby. And for good reason.
“We're not big party people anyway, but after a win like yesterday, I'm thinking 'I have 15 horses to work out, and the turf workers.' I always think, 'I have a lot of work tomorrow.'
“We'll have some fun times over the summer, but they might not be right after a big day. We'll work it into our schedule.”
Cistron, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of The Factor, has been a solid performer and consistent earner all along, but seems to have found his niche and comfort zone sprinting on the dirt since being switched from turf in April for his last three starts.
The switch was prompted when Santa Anita stopped running 6 ½-furlong events on its downhill turf course. Cistron has wins in the Crosby and the Grade II Kona Gold and a runner-up, beaten a head, in the Triple Bend at Santa Anita since the switch, all from front-running positions.
At first look Sunday morning Sadler said Cistron appeared to come away fine from a big effort in the Crosby. If there's another race in his future during the meeting, it will be the $200,000 Grade II Pat O'Brien – like the Crosby a “Win and You're In” Breeders' Cup qualifying event, on August 24.
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