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Monday, February 26
Golden Ballet to dance in Derby?




Barry Irwin, the president of the Team Valor syndicate, is entertaining thoughts of running standout filly Golden Ballet in a Kentucky Derby prep race, which could lead to a start in the Derby itself.

Golden Ballet
Golden Ballet is scheduled to run next against fillies in the March 10 Santa Anita Oaks.
Golden Ballet is scheduled to run next against fillies in the March 10 Santa Anita Oaks. Irwin said that she should run well in that race he may test her against males in her next outing.

"If she were to win the Santa Anita Oaks big we would consider running her in one of the Derby preps," Irwin said. "If she could pull off a win in one of those that would give you as much prestige as winning the Kentucky Oaks. Take a filly like Althea. I think people remember her winning the Arkansas Derby more than some of the fillies who won the Kentucky Oaks."

The 3-year-old daughter of Moscow Ballet has run twice this year, winning the Santa Ynez by seven lengths before cruising to a 2 1/2-length win in the Las Virgenes for Team Valor and co-owner Bill Heiligbrodt. Chris McCarron, who also rides Derby candidate Millennium Wind, is her regular rider, and she is trained by Jenine Sahadi.

"She looks like a colt," Irwin noted. "She's got the range and scope of a colt and is very far advanced. I think at this stage of the game she might be able to hold her own with that kind of company. In her first race this year, she was short and she missed some training coming into her second race. She wasn't really at her best and drew off. If she improves and runs the kind of numbers we think she's capable of I think she can be competitive with colts."

Irwin would not say which Derby prep she might go in, but the Santa Anita Derby would seem like a logical spot.

As for the Kentucky Derby, Irwin said that he's "not even going to think about it." However, should Golden Ballet run well in a Kentucky Derby prep it may be impossible to keep her out of the Derby.

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