Brazilian Triple Crown winner Bal a Bali made a splash in his U.S. debut, capturing the $100,000 American Stakes May 9 at Santa Anita Park.
The winner of 11-of-12 starts in his native Brazil, the 5-year-old horse by Put It Back squeezed between horses in the stretch under the guidance of jockey Flavien Prat and prevailed by a length over Talco. Gabriel Charles was 1-1/4 lengths back in third.
The trouble wasn't a concern for winning trainer Richard Mandella.
"Yes [he had trouble], but he's a pro," Mandella said. "He's run enough times. He knows what he's doing. [Prat is] a pro, too."
It was not only Bal a Bali's first U.S. race, but it was his first since a battle with laminitis last year.