World traveler Balnikhov makes his U.S. debut in this Saturday’s Singletary Stakes, a $100,000 event for 3-year-olds at a mile on turf.
An Irish-bred gelding whose eight career races have come in France, where he won three, Balnikhov is owned by Little Red Feather Racing, Madaket Stables or Old Bones Racing Stable.
“He’s coming out of races in France, but he’s training very well,” said Phil D’Amato, Santa Anita’s leading trainer with 30 victories through Saturday, three more than Doug O’Neill, who has started 17 more horses.
Not only is Balnikhov making his U.S. debut, the Singletary will be his first race in more than three months, his last coming Dec. 22, 2021 at Lyon La Soie in France.
“He’s a very solid horse with a nice turn of foot, and it should be a good first race for him,” said D’Amato, who has engaged Santa Anita’s second-leading jockey, Juan Hernandez, to ride.
Balnikhov worked five furlongs Sunday morning in 1:01 flat on the training track.
The Singletary is named for the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner at Lone Star Park owned by Little Red Feather Racing, trained by Don Chatlos and ridden by David Flores.