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ELMONT, NY – Coolmore’s Bolshoi Ballet took over in deep stretch before pulling away late to win Saturday’s $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) at Belmont Park.
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Bolshoi Ballet broke from post 2 under Ryan Moore as the even-money favorite and settled in the back half of the field of 3-year-olds.
With Cellist giving closest watch early, Hard Love posted opening tepid fractions of :24.61, :51.34, and 1:17.26.
Moore tipped Bolshoi Ballet out while rounding the far turn and sent him four-wide as the field neared the top of the stretch.
Though Cellist ranged up to take the lead halfway home, Bolshoi Ballet charged down the middle of the lane and assumed command at the 1/16 pole.
The Aidan O’Brien trainee eventually crossed 1 1/4 lengths clear while completing the 1 1/4-mile good inner turf course in 2:04.42.
“It felt like they were going very slow,” Moore said. “This horse, we know he gets the 10 (furlongs) very well. It was a messy race and he won comfortably without being able to show how good he is. We’re happy with him. He’s the most beautiful horse you’ll see. He’s a real athlete. He’s a class horse. … With a furlong to run, you could see he was just waiting; having a look, and his ears were going. He’s still getting used to knowing what he has to do. We think there’s more to come. Potentially, I suppose he could be a Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) horse.”
Tokyo Gold rallied up to neck out Cellist for second, while fourth went to Du Jour by a nose over Sainthood.
Palazzi, Hard Love, Safe Conduct, and Hidden Enemy completed the order of finish.
Bolshoi Ballet’s win was his third from 4 starts this year and returned him to the winner’s circle after finishing seventh as the 6/5 favorite in the Epsom Derby (G1) last time out. The Irish-bred son of Galileo (whose death was announced earlier Saturday morning) improved his record to 7-4-0-1 with $638,454 earned.
“The ground was probably a little bit slow for him because he likes quick ground, but he did well at the finish because he had a good gallop and that helped him,” said O’Brien assistant T.J. Comerford. “Ideally, he probably wants tougher ground. In fairness to him, his class pulled it out at the end of the day, and you have to be happy with it.”
Bolshoi Ballet returned $4.10 to win, $3.20 to place, and $2.80 to show. Tokyo Gold brought back $10.60 to place and $6.20 to show. Cellist paid $7.50 to show.
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