BRAZILIAN-BRED OVERCOMES LAMINITIS TO REGISTER IMPRESSIVE U.S. DEBUT
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 9, 2015)–Favored Bal a Bali burst clear with a furlong to run and went on to a convincing one length victory in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 American Stakes at Santa Anita. Ridden by Flavien Prat and conditioned by Richard Mandella, Brazilian-bred Bal a Bali made an impressive U.S. debut as he covered a mile on turf in 1:35.69.
Idle due to a case of laminitis since winning a Group I in Brazil 11 months ago, Bal a Bali, a 5-year-old horse by the Honour and Glory stallion Put It Back, was off as the 3-2 favorite in a field of eight horses aged 3-and-up and he paid $5.00, $3.80 and $3.00.
“He did a great job today,” said Prat, who split horses three off the rail a furlong out en route to winning his second race of the day in combination with Mandella and his third overall. “He’s just a really good horse. I had a little trouble on the turn because it was his first time on a short turn like that, but he can run longer than this. He can run a mile, he’s a great horse.”
Owned by Fox Hill Farms, Inc. and Siena Farms, LLC, Bal a Bali, who won four Group I races last year, including the Brazilian Triple Crown, got his 12th win from 13 starts and with the winner’s share of $60,000, increased his earnings to $570,078.
“It really is fulfilling to get his first race in the U.S. under his belt, because he really had a serious problem coming out of quarantine when he had laminitis,” said Mandella. “The podiatrist at Rood and Riddle (in Lexington, Ky.) named Vernon Dryden (DVM) did an unbelievable job of getting him back like this…I can’t say enough about the job he did.”
Talco, who made an eye catching run around the far turn under Victor Espinoza, settled for second, finishing 1 ¼ lengths in front of Gabriel Charles. Off at 9-2, Talco paid $4.80 and $3.20.
“My horse ran an awesome race,” said Espinoza. “I decided to make a run around the turn and he was really running, but the winner got through inside of us and he was too much.”
Gabriel Charles, who was full of run around the far turn under Tyler Baze, angled off the rail a furlong from home and was a clear third, finishing one length in front of second choice Winning Prize. Off at 8-1, Gabriel Charles paid $5.40 to show.
First post time for a nine-race card on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.