By NYRA media
USA: The Aidan O’Brien-trained pair of Bolshoi Ballet and Santa Barbara arrived in New York on Sunday evening for their respective starts in the first leg of NYRA’s Turf Triple series on Saturday at Belmont.
Bolshoi Ballet targets the $1m Belmont Derby Invitational, while stablemate Santa Barbara will be entered in the $700,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational. Both races are G1 events contested at 1m2f on the inner turf.
“They’re perfect – they’ve arrived in great shape,” said O’Brien’s travelling assistant TJ Comerford.
Bolshoi Ballet, struck into when only seventh as Derby favourite last time out at Epsom, will look to give O’Brien a second triumph in the Belmont Derby after Deauville in 2016. “He’s in good order and looks well. We’re very happy with him,” Comerford said.
Much-touted Santa Barbara is also looking for her first G1 success after a close second to Thundering Nights in the Pretty Polly on June 27 at The Curragh; she was beaten favourite in both the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks.
“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.” O’Brien won the Belmont Oaks three years ago with Athena.
Turf Triple contenders Italian Derby winner 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 Cirona (Christophe Ferland) and Nazuna (Roger Varian) will point to the Belmont Oaks.