07/05/2004 12:00AM

Ballingarry repeats in Stars and Stripes

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David Zenner
Ballingarry rallies from just off the pace and angles out in the stretch to claim a length and three-quarter victory in the $200,000 Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf at Arlington Park on July 4.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - If Ballingarry only raced on Arlington Park's grass course he might be a champion. Ballingarry's sole 2003 win came here in the Stars and Stripes Handicap, and he had lost five in a row before Sunday, when he won another Stars and Stripes.

Ballingarry looked top class when he won the Canadian International in September 2002, his first start after being privately purchased and shipped out of Ireland. But besides the brief glimmer last summer, Ballingarry has disappointed.

"I think the main thing with this horse is he's 100 percent sound now," trainer Laura de Seroux said.

Foot problems have dogged Ballingarry, but he is over them now. And Sunday, for the first time in his U.S. career, he came from well of the early pace to win.

"He showed he has a turn of foot," de Seroux said, "that he's not just a galloper."

The Stars and Stripes, run on soft turf, lacked pace, and Quest Star led through a quarter-mile in 26 seconds, a half in 52.68, and three quarters in 1:19.48. Rene Douglas stayed on the rail with Ballingarry until he saw an inside hole about three furlongs from the finish.

"I said, 'Lets see what you have, big boy,'" Douglas said.

He had plenty. Opening up at the top of the stretch, Ballingarry won by one and three-quarters lengths, running one and one-half miles in 2:36.30. He paid $5.60 to win, and his victory gave de Seroux, majority owner Sidney Port, and Douglas a sweep of Arlington graded stakes this weekend. Toasted won the Grade 2 Arlington Classic on Saturday. Douglas also won his fourth consecutive Stars and Stripes.

"I watch a lot of TVG and I see him ride," said the California-based de Seroux. "I think he's a genius in turf races."

Behind Ballingarry, Silverfoot had a double dose of bad luck. Silverfoot cranked up a big run on the final turn, but before the quarter pole he collided with the horse on his outside, Art Variety. Silverfoot was stopped cold, losing all chance at the winner, and was disqualified from second to fourth for the contact.

That moved the longshot Grey Beard up to second, followed by Art Variety. Quest Star faded to seventh.