Arlington International Barn Notes (5/10/15)
Contact: Michael Adolphson
In today's notes:
BAL A BALI TO POINT TO ARLINGTON MILLION
Fox Hill Farms and Siena Farms’ Bal a Bali, a Triple Crown winner in his native Brazil, made his long-awaited American debut a winning one on Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita, besting seven others in the Grade III $100,000 American Stakes over a grassy mile. A survivor of laminitis after arriving in the United States last fall, the son of Hobeau Farm’s talented American sprinter Put It Back returned to serious training with new conditioner Richard Mandella at the beginning of February with a hopeful eye on the big turf prizes thoughout the country, including the Grade I $1,000,000 Arlington Million on Aug. 15.
“He ran beautifully,” said Rick Porter, principal of Fox Hill. “It was great to see what he did. We were nervous. He hadn’t run in a year and (jockey) Flavien (Prat) rode a great race. Mandella was like a little kid afterward with his family; smiling, hugging and kissing. So much has gone into him coming back and to get it the way he did it was beautiful.
“He had the patience to sit there a little closer than we would have liked because of the slower pace and then he split horses and exploded and we were really excited,” Porter continued. “(Dick) and I talked about the next race and we’ve pretty much decided to keep him in California for the (Grade I $400,000) Shoemaker Mile (on June 13 at Santa Anita) next. We are nominated and hoping to go to the Arlington Million after that if all goes well. Whether we have a race in between, that will be up to Dick.”
A winner from five furlongs to 1 1/2 miles and a Group I winner from a mile to 1 1/2 miles in his native country, Bal a Bali will attempt to show the same versatility on this continent this season, if all goes well.
“He was .35 off the world record at a mile and he broke the track record at a mile and a half,” Porter said. “Dick will find out what his best distance is. He’s shown he is able to do it in Brazil and hopefully he can do it here and keeps improving. There’s no guarantee, but he came out great. One down.”
WORK ALL WEEK AND THE PIZZA MAN KICK OFF CAMPAIGNS MAY 30
Midwest Thoroughbreds’ grand geldings The Pizza Man and Work All Week are slated to kick off their 2015 campaigns on May 30 at Churchill Downs, according to their connections. Trained by Roger Brueggemann, the two Illinois-bred champions each worked Sunday morning at Churchill Downs Trackside Training Center with regular jockey Florent Geroux up. Eclipse Award champion sprinter and Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Work All Week went six furlongs in 1:12.60, while graded stakes-winning turf horse and American St. Leger victor The Pizza Man negotiated a mile in 1:43 flat.
The tentative plan is to run Work All Week in the Grade III $100,000 Aristides Stakes over six furlongs and The Pizza Man in the $65,000-added Opening Verse Stakes on the same card. After both wintering in Ocala following impressive 2015 campaigns, they joined Brueggemann’s stable at Oaklawn Park at the end of the winter and then proceeded to Trackside.
On a nearly identical work pattern, the two Arlington International Racecourse fan favorites now will focus on their 2015 goals. For Work All Week, it is a return to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint to defend his title at Keeneland in the fall. For The Pizza Man, it is a possible run in the Grade I $1,000,000 Arlington Million on Aug. 15, with a probable prep in the Grade III $150,000 Arlington Handicap on Million Preview Day, July 11.
Graded stakes-winning turf ridgling Infinite Magic worked five furlongs in 1:02.40 for trainer Mike Stidham and owner Team Valor International.
Ageless Arlington fan favorite and multiple stakes-winning sprinter Saint Leon sped a half-mile in :48 flat for trainer Michele Boyce and owner Margaret Burlingham.
Graded stakes-placed turf sprinter Mongol Bull worked four furlongs in :48.40 for owner-trainer Bradlee Rainwater.
Hard-knocking multiple stakes-placed 3-year-old gelding Bourbon Cowboy worked four furlongs in a leisurely :53.40 for trainer Richie Scherer and owner Holmark Stables IV.
Fortino, Inc.’s multiple stakes-winning homebred Sweet Luca worked five furlongs in 1:06.40 toward his 6-year-old debut for trainer Chris Block.
Raul Bahena’s stakes-winning sophomore filly Happy to Go worked five furlongs in 1:02 flat for trainer Armando De La Cerda.
Graded stakes-placed sophomore Private Prospect worked five furlongs in 1:06.80 for trainer Mike Campbell and owner Mellon Patch, Inc.
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