Edited NYRA Release — The Aidan O’Brien-trained pair of Bolshoi Ballet and Santa Barbara arrived in New York by way of Ballydoyle Training Center in Ireland on Sunday evening for their respective starts in the first leg of NYRA’s Turf Triple series on Saturday at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
Bolshoi Ballet targets the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational, while stablemate Santa Barbara will be entered in the Grade 1, $700,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational. Both races are contested at 10 furlongs on the inner turf.
“They’re perfect. They’ve arrived in great shape,” said T.J. Comerford, travelling assistant for O’Brien.
Bolshoi Ballet, who finished seventh as the favorite last out in the Group 1 Epsom Derby, will look to give O’Brien a second triumph in the Belmont Derby after shipping Deauville stateside for a successful engagement in 2016.
The bay son of influential international sire Galileo won both his efforts in 2021 prior to the Epsom Derby.
“He’s in good order and looks well. We’re very happy with him,” Comerford said.
Owned by Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Westerberg, Bolshoi Ballet is out of the Anabaa mare Alta Anna.
Santa Barbara arrives at the Belmont Oaks off a runner-up effort to Thundering Nights in the Group 1 Pretty Polly on June 27 at The Curragh. Since a first out maiden victory over the County Kildare green in September, the daughter of 2012 Epsom Derby winner Camelot has made her three following efforts against Group 1 company.
Out of the Danehill mare Senta’s Dream, Santa Barbara is a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup winners Iridessa [2019 Filly and Mare Turf] and Order of Australia [2020 Mile].
“She’s a filly that we think a lot of,” Comerford said. “She ran in some tough races this year after winning her maiden race. She’s taken everything in stride.”
Turf Triple contenders Tokyo Gold, Cirona and Nazuna arrived at Belmont on Sunday morning.
Trained by Shinya Kobayashi, Tokyo Gold will start in the Belmont Derby, while the Christophe Ferland-trained Cirona and Roger Varian-conditioned Nazuna will point to the Belmont Oaks.