January 25, 2021

Bal a Bali lives up to billing with stellar U.S. bow in American

Last updated: 5/9/15 8:55 PM

Bal a Bali lives up to billing with stellar U.S. bow in

Bal a Bali will now set his sights on the Manhattan or Shoemaker Mile
(Benoit Photo)

Brazilian superstar Bal a Bali (Put It Back) ran right up to his 3-2
favoritism in Saturday’s $100,750
S. (G3)
at Santa Anita, and this successful U.S. debut — off an 11-month
layoff — portends even better to come from the once-beaten champion.

Imported last summer by new owners Fox Hill Farms and Siena Farm, Bal a Bali
was originally intended to prepare for the 2014 Breeders’ Cup. But before he
could join Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella in Southern California, he
developed laminitis during the Miami phase of his journey. Bal a Bali responded
to treatment, made an excellent recovery, and eventually made his way to

“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,” Mandella said.

“The podiatrist at Rood & Riddle (in Lexington, Kentucky) named Vernon Dryden
did an unbelievable job of getting him back like this. He’s based in Kentucky
but he’s gone to Florida and worked on him, he also came out here and worked on
him. I can’t say enough about the job he did.”

Now the Brazilian Horse of the Year, and Triple Crown winner, looks ready to
make up for lost time.

With Flavien Prat aboard, Bal a Bali was nestled in midpack while War Academy
(Giant’s Causeway) carved out moderate fractions of :23 4/5 and :48 on the firm
turf. The prompting Winning Prize (Pure Prize) put his head in front through six
furlongs in 1:11 4/5 and tried to inch away at the top of the stretch, but he
was soon accosted by Talco (Pivotal).

Bal a Bali, in the thick of contention but briefly needing room, bravely came
through between them. Despite his lack of race-fitness, the champion found
another gear to surge ahead. Bal a Bali drew off by one length and negotiated
the grassy mile in 1:35 3/5, returning $5 to his fans. Talco held the runner-up
spot by 1 1/4 lengths from the fast-finishing Gabriel Charles (Street Hero).
Winning Prize tired to fourth.

Mandella wasn’t fazed by the traffic Bal a Bali encountered.

“Yes, but he’s a pro,” the Hall of Famer said. “He’s run enough times. He
knows what he’s doing. Flav’s a pro, too.”

“He did a great job today,” said Prat, who was racking up his third win on
the card. “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.

“He has worked so good in the mornings so I was pretty confident. He just
repeated his works today. I wasn’t really surprised (by his win). He was the
champion in Brazil so he can be the champion here — why not?”

Now sporting a 13-12-0-1 line, Bal a Bali boosted his bankroll to $570,078.
His lone loss came in his juvenile campaign, when third in the 2013 Grande
Premio Conde de Herzberg (Brz-G2). He was otherwise unbeatable for Stud
Alvarenga and trainer Dulcino Guignoni. Earlier at two, he accounted for the
Premio Jose Calmon and Grand Premio Mario de Azevedo Ribeiro (Brz-G3). The
beginning of his sophomore season was highlighted by scores in the Premio Ernani
de Freitas and Premio Julio Capua (Brz-G3).

Bal a Bali went on to sweep the 2014 Triple Crown at Gavea. He crushed the
Grande Premio Estado do Rio de Janeiro (Brz-G1) by 7 1/2 lengths in course
record (and near world-record) time for the metric mile, 1:31.36. He added the
Grande Premio Francisco Eduardo de Paula Machado (Brz-G1), over 2,000 meters, by
3 3/4 lengths. And in the Grande Premio Cruzeiro do Sul (Brz-G1) at 2,400
meters, he set another Gavea course record in 2:23.25.

The dark bay concluded his Brazilian career by beating older horses in the
Gran Premio Doutor Frontin (Brz-G2) and the Grande Premio Brasil (Brz-G1), a
Breeders’ Cup Challenge event, last June 8.

Bal a Bali was bred in Brazil by Haras Santa Maria de Araras. The
five-year-old is out of Group 3 vixen In My Side (Clackson), and his pedigree
features 4×4 inbreeding to the matriarch Gonfalon (Francis S.).

Mandella mentioned that Bal a Bali could step up to 1 1/4 miles for the $1
million Manhattan (G1) on Belmont Day, June 6, or keep to a mile at home for the
$400,000 Shoemaker Mile (G1) at Santa Anita June 13.

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