Updated on 09/17/2011 1:43PM

Ballingarry finds greener turf


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Trainer Laura de Seroux went looking for a suitable spot for her turf standout Ballingarry, and the result was not necessarily good for her counterparts at Churchill Downs. arrived here Saturday following the long flight from Southern California to run Monday in the $100,000 Louisville Handicap, a race in which Ballingary most likely will be favored.

A field of nine older horses was entered in the Grade 3 Louisville, a1 3/8-mile turf race that highlights a 10-race Memorial Day card. De Seroux, who made her biggest splash in racing as the trainer of 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri, will not be here to saddle Ballingarry, having assigned those duties to assistant Jeff Ford.

A 5-year-old, Ballingarry is an Irish-bred who spent his formative months in his homeland with Aidan O'Brien. In his first North American start late in his 3-year-old season, Ballingarry captured the Grade 1 Canadian International before being turned over to de Seroux in Southern California.

In seven starts spanning 13 months, Ballingarry has mostly run in tough graded races and has won just once, in the 2003 Stars and Stripes at Arlington Park. De Seroux said she is looking for the Louisville to serve as a tuneup for a return engagement in the July 4 Stars and Stripes.

"I'm sending him to Churchill because I wanted to get him off the Hollywood turf course, which I believe is too hard and speed-biased at the moment," she said. "I think he'll prefer the ground you have back there. I would be almost certain of that. The distance and the ground will suit him very much."

Mark Guidry has picked up the mount on Ballingarry, who will carry high weight of 120 pounds in this 67th running of the Louisville.

Ballingarry may face strongest competition from the defending Louisville champion, Kim Loves Bucky; Art Variety, most recently third in the Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland; Silverfoot, a gray gelding making his stakes debut for Dallas Stewart after winning three of his last four starts, all in allowance company; or Rochester, an 8-year-old veteran who has earned $868,357 for Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard.

The rest of the field is Dia Alegre, Spruce Hero, Feel the Wind, and Gottabeachboy.

Four allowance races also are part of a solid Sunday program.

Because there is racing here Monday, Churchill will be dark Wednesday, normally a racing day. Action resumes here Thursday.