Irish-Bred Balnikhov ready to star in the $100,000 Cinema Stakes

June 1, 2022

ARCADIA, Calif. (June 1, 2022)—One of leading trainer Phil D’Amato’s seemingly endless line of talented Irish-breds, Balnikhov returns to Santa Anita and heads Saturday’s $100,000 Cinema Stakes as five sophomores go a mile and one eighth on turf.

Second, beaten a nose in his U.S. debut going one mile on turf in the Singletary Stakes here April 2, Balnikhov was subsequently second, beaten 1 ¼ lengths at 6-1 in the Grade III American Turf Stakes going a mile and one sixteenth on turf  at Churchill Downs May 7.

A winner of three of eight French-based starts at age two last year, Balnikhov, who is owned by Little Red Feather Racing, Madaket Stables, LLC and Old Bones Racing Stable, LLC, will be reunited with leading man Juan Hernandez, who rode him in the Singletary.

With an overall mark of 10-3-3-2, Balnikov has earnings of $172,905.

A $525,000 March 2-year-old in training sale purchase, Doubledown Stable’s War At Sea is a colt on the improve with two consecutive wins at one mile over the Santa Anita turf to his credit.  Trained by Ron Ellis, War At Sea, who is by War Front out of the Street Cry mare Serene Melody, rallied for a 1 ¾ length maiden special weight win at 2-1 in his sixth start on March 5 and came back to post a half length allowance score April 16, earning a career-best 81 Beyer Speed Figure.

With Mike Smith riding back, War At Sea will make his stakes debut in career start number eight as he stretches out a furlong.

Trainer George Papaprodromou, fresh off a big Memorial Day weekend that saw him post four victories on Sunday, including an upset score with American Theorem in the Grade II Triple Bend Stakes, is well represented in the Cinema by Cabo Spirit, who returns to Santa Anita following a narrow neck defeat in the California Derby going 1 1/16 miles on synthetic Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields April 30.

Owned by Kretz Racing, LLC, Cabo Spirit took the one mile turf Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita five starts back on Jan. 2 and has two wins, a second and a third place finish from four turf starts.

A $575,000 2-year-old in training sale purchase a year ago April, Cabo Spirit is a ridgeling by Pioneerof the Nile and is out of the Shamardal mare Fancy Day.  With an overall mark of 11-2-2-3, he has earnings of $202,560 and will be ridden for the third time in a row by Joe Bravo.


Race 7of 9   Approximate post time 4 p.m. PT

  1. Red Road—Ricardo Gonzalez—122
  2. Cabo Spirit—Joe Bravo—124
  3. Balnikhov—Juan Hernandez—122
  4. Beef Winslow—Abel Cedillo—120
  5. War At Sea—Mike Smith—122

First post time for a nine-race card on Saturday is at 1 p.m.

Santa Anita Park Press Release

Photo: Balnikhov, (Benoit)

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