Balladeer goes all the way in the John Henry Turf Championship (G2)
RSS Feeds Monday, October 2, 2023

Balladeer became the newest stakes winner from the Eddie Woods training program when he led all the way to take the $200,000 John Henry Turf Championship (G2) on Oct. 1 at Santa Anita Park.

The 4-year-old colt had some anxious moments when he went extremely wide crossing over the dirt course in the first quarter-mile, but jockey Victor Espinoza quickly guided him back to the rail to maintain the lead. He opened up by five lengths in the early stages before Masteroffoxhounds began to cut into the margin with a half-mile to run.

With a quarter-mile to run, Masteroffoxhounds was within a half-length, but could get no closer in the stretch as Balladeer dug in gamely to finish the 1 ¼-miles in 1:58.94.

"He took the dirt crossing wide, but it wasn't really important because I was able to control him without fighting with him or irritating him," said Espinoza. "When I crossed the dirt, we just went towards the rail and he was just going at a nice speed. I was just pleased with the way he responded to my command."

Owned by Calvin Nguyen and Joey Tran, Balladeer improved to 4-2-2 from 18 starts and $367,290 in earnings. Bred in Kentucky by Bonne Chance Farm, Balladeer is out of a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and Belmont S. (G1) winner Drosselmeyer.