Updated on 09/17/2011 10:14AM

Call out the cavalry

Michael Burns
Ballingarry (above) has a distinct class advantage over his opponents in Sunday's Arcadia, but is making his first start since October.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Reinforcements to a shallow California turf division arrive Sunday at Santa Anita, where Grade 1 winner Ballingarry begins his first United States campaign and Sunday Break tries to resurrect his career in his first start on grass.

Nine older horses entered the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap, a nine-furlong race in which Ballingarry's supporters are likely to overlook his lack of recent form, and wager instead for the simple reason Ballingarry is the best horse in the race. The 4-year-old Ballingarry has won four races and $1.4 million, and runs for the first time since a seventh-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Turf.

"Kent [Desormeaux] and I have both been very surprised at how much faster he is this year," trainer Laura de Seroux said. Ballingarry is being aimed at a spring-summer campaign that de Seroux and majority owner Sidney Port hope will include two big races at Hollywood Park - the $400,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap on May 10, and the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap on June 14.

Ballingarry was purchased privately last fall, and made his first start for his new owners in the Breeders' Cup. His effort does not accurately reflect his ability, according to de Seroux. "In hindsight, I knew there was a chance he was over the top, jet-lagged, but after winning the Canadian International, what else are you going to do but run?"

Ballingarry's European form stands out from his Arcadia rivals. A Group 1 winner at 2 in France and a Grade 1 winner at 3 in Canada, Ballingarry figures to make an impact this spring and summer in a turf division that lacks a leader. But first, he must get past the Arcadia, the field for which includes Chilean import Gondolieri and Sunday Break.

Gondolieri won 6 of 7 in Chile, but never raced beyond a mile until his first start for Ron McAnally on March 8. Gondolieri set a blistering pace in that race, and tired to third. The 4-year-old Gondolieri will have to ration his speed more efficiently in the Arcadia.

Sunday Break has raced two times in his current campaign - finishing last while favored in the Grade 1 Malibu on Dec. 26, and second-to-last in Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap.

"I want to see if we've got more options," trainer Neil Drysdale said. "He's out of a Storm Cat mare, he's trained well on grass, so why not?"

Sunday Break adds blinkers Sunday, and sharp turf works suggest the turf experiment may just work.

Completing the field are Century City, Harrisand, Mananan McLir, Delta Form, Night Life, and Passinetti.

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