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Balance Wins US Gr1 Santa Margarita
In the US, former Gr1 Kentucky Derby winner & Coolmore shuttler Thunder Gulch (Gulch-Line Of Thunder, by Storm Bird) added a Gr1 triumph when multiple Gr1-winning 4YO daughter Balance (Thunder Gulch-Vertigineux, by Kris S) scored a half-length victory in the US$300,000 Gr1 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap (9 furlongs) for mares 4YO & up at Santa Anita Park in California. Top-weighted favourite Balance (ridden by Victor Espinoza for trainer David Hofmans) "appeared beaten with nowhere to run entering the stretch, but unleashed an explosive rally to transform from victim to victor" & defeat Gr2-winner Ermine (Exchange Rate-Red Mischief, by Thirty Six Red) & Brazilian-bred River Savage (First American-Double Whistle, by Giboulee), reported thoroughbredtimes.com. Kentucky-bred Balance (a US$260,000 yearling at the 2004 Keeneland sale) now boasts 6 wins (also including last start's Gr2 La Canada Stakes over 9 furlongs at Santa Anita on February 11 & 2006's Gr1 Santa Anita Oaks & Gr1 Las Virgenes Stakes) & 4 placings (including 2006's Gr1 La Brea Stakes over 7 furlongs at Santa Anita on December 30 & Gr1 Ashland Stakes, plus the 2005 Gr1 Hollywood Starlet Stakes) from 11 starts for US$900,159 earnings.