DEL MAR, Calif.— Little Red Feather Racing, et al’s Balnikhov brought a baggage full of promise with him when he arrived from Ireland at the first of the year. He finally met those expectations Friday afternoon on Opening Day at Del Mar when the 3-year old son of Adaay dropped down on the rail and surged to victory in the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes.
Trainer Phil D’Amato says Balnikhov came out of the race in really good shape.
“I think we found what he wants to do,” D’Amato said, “just kind of get covered up and come with his late run.”
D’Amato says Balnikhov is an easy horse to train.
“You don’t have to train him that hard,” D’Amato said, “just put some nice breezes into him and he’ll show up.”
The conditioner says we could see Balnikhov again before the end of the meet.
“He likes spacing in between his races,” D’Amato notes, “so for those reasons, I think we’ll just wait and keep him fresh and run him in the Del Mar Derby.”
The Grade II Caesars Sportsbook Del Mar Derby – at a mile and an eighth on the lawn – goes Saturday, September 3.
Balnikhov beat runner-up Amner Hall by a length and a half. Barsabas finished third, followed by the race favorite, Mackinnon, who trainer Doug O’Neill says came out of the race in great shape.
“We were disappointed, of course, but he needed the race and the winner’s no slouch, the winner’s a nice, nice horse. I have to talk with the owners about our next plan but I’m thinking the Del Mar Derby.”
Del Mar Press Release
Photo: Balnikhov victorious in the Oceanside Stakes (Benoit Photo)