Bali a Bali fires off long layoff in Frank Kilroe Mile

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Bal a Bali was kept in training this year with the hope he would win a major race and enhance his long-term value as a stallion prospect.

Mission accomplished.

In Saturday's Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile, Bal a Bali won his first start since June in the $400,345 race at a mile on turf. Ridden by Javier Castellano, Bal a Bali closed from fourth in the final half-mile to catch an unlucky What a View in the final strides.

The Kilroe Mile was Bal a Bali's second graded stakes win in the United States. The winner of the 2014 Rio Triple Crown in Brazil, Bal a Bali won the Grade 3 American Stakes here in May 2015.

"People need to respect what he's done," said winning trainer Richard Mandella.

Bal a Bali ($21.20) was the longest shot in a field of six. He was timed in 1:33.86.

Castellano had Bal a Bali on the rail on the first turn, stalking What a View, who set a decent pace of 23.40 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 46.89 for a half-mile. Bal a Bali was 2 1/2 lengths behind What a View halfway through the race, and was third with a quarter-mile remaining.

What a View led by 2 1/2 lengths with a furlong to go, and looked to be on his way to a win before Bal a Bali unleashed a brilliant rally.

"He ran a good race," Mandella said.

What a View ran an equally excellent race, finishing 1 1/2 lengths in front of Bolo, the winner of the Grade 2 Arcadia Stakes last month.

What a View, who won the 2016 Kilroe, has been second in three consecutive stakes on turf this year, including a head loss in the Arcadia. In January, What a View was second in the California Cup Turf Classic.

"The last two races have been brutal," trainer Kenny Black said.

Ring Weekend, who won the 2015 Kilroe Mile, was fourth on Saturday, followed by Conquest Enforcer and Dortmund.

The Kilroe Mile was Dortmund's first career start on turf and first start for trainer Art Sherman, who took over the care of the 5-year-old at the start of the year after previous owner Kaleem Shah and trainer Bob Baffert parted ways.

Dortmund was third after a half-mile, but faded on a surface he could not handle, jockey Victor Espinoza said.

"He didn't like it at all," Espinoza said. "He wasn't comfortable."

Bal a Bali, a 7-year-old Brazilian-bred by the Honour and Glory stallion Put It Back, has won 14 of 23 starts and earned $1,003,826. He was acquired by Calumet Farm last year.

Bal a Bali has won 11 stakes ranging in distance from about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf to 1 1/2 miles.

Bal a Bali was shipped to the United States in the summer of 2014, but was diagnosed with laminitis after arriving in quarantine. He was winless in five starts last year.

"He's a good horse and he's had a few things happen," Mandella said.