It has been almost three years since Ball port had seen the winner’s circle before broadcasting a field of applicants for $ 50,000 last September to Saratoga Racetrack.
Coach Robertino Diodoro took a chance on the aging warrior, a multi-stakes winner who had hit the board nine times in grad business during his long career, and claimed him for client John Holleman . Two starts later, the gelding’s former spark reignited in a big way with an audacious lead score in the $200,000 Tinsel Stakes on December 17 at Oaklawn Park.
“He’s a beautiful horse with a lot of rear class,” Diodoro said. “He’s really come the last few weeks here in Oaklawn.”
Closing the distance from a third-place finish in the 1 5/8-mile Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Stakes (G2) on the Breeders’ Cup undercard on Friday, Bal Harbor was snappy from the gate and elevated it for the lead under jockey Christian Torres. The zero of the probable leader Hozier left the 7-year-old with a healthy advantage up front as he cut fractions of :23.53 and :47.41 on a fast main track that had favored speed throughout the post- midday.
Favored Run classic , making his second attempt at stakes business since an outboard effort in the 2021 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2), was never far behind Bal Harbor and posed a threat by pulling even with the gelding’s flank in the far turn. As they straightened up to head home, Bal Harbor pulled away from this rival and drove towards the wire, dodging the late closing The last Samourai by a neck under the wire.
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Bal Harbor ($5.80) covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.22.
Bal Harbor connections enjoy Tinsel Stakes trophy presentation
Last Samurai, three lengths ahead Scarlet Fusion third, he put in his best performance since bringing home a four-length Oaklawn Handicap (G2) winner in April for coach Dallas Stewart. Now trained by Stewart’s mentor, D. Wayne Lukas, Last Samurai, owned by the late Willis Horton, is winless in its last six starts.
Diodoro won his second consecutive Tinsel after winning last year’s edition with another venerable gelding, lonely rock . Comparing his two students, Diodoro remarked, “They both like their work in the morning, and they’re both big, healthy horses.”
Bal Harbor took a step closer to earning $1.4 million from Lone Rock, increasing its bankroll to $870,800 after Saturday’s win.
A son of First Samurai , Bal Harbor was bred in Kentucky by Red Oak Stable, who campaigned the gelding in his first 32 starts, including multiple wins under Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. He’s out of the winning stake Town of Carson Mare Casino transactions the dam of six winners of six foals to run, including Charleymillionaire, placed at multiple stakes (Mesa of the sky ).