Just as he did in 2012, trainer Chad Brown swept both ends of the Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In” races for juvenile turf horses on Sunday at Belmont Park, taking the Grade 3, $200,000 Pilgrim with Bobby's Kitten and the Grade 3, $200,000 Miss Grillo for fillies with French import Testa Rossi.
Testa Rossi, making her first stakes start and her American debut, was content to bring up the rear through the early going of the Miss Grillo as long shot Echale Salsita towed the field of 11 fillies through an opening half mile in 47.35 seconds and three-quarters in 1:12.05. Given her cue by jockey Jose Lezcano at the three-sixteenths pole, Testa Rossi briskly galloped past the field once straightened away, and had just enough left to stave off the last-gasp charge from Sky Painter and win by a nose.
Her time for 1 1/16 miles over the firm Widener turf was 1:41.73.
“You never know until you run them,” said Brown, who also saddled fourth-place finisher and beaten favorite Granny Mc's Kitten.
“Testa Rossi's works were good – they weren't great – but you know what? She's a good-looking horse, she's got good form and every week she seems to be improving. I have a bunch of these fillies and I picked the two I thought would give me the best chance to win, and she was one of them.”
The 5-1 third choice, Testa Rossi – a daughter of Dr Fong – paid $12.60 for a $2 win wager as she extended her winning streak to four. Owned by James Covello, Thomas Coleman and DMZ Racing Stable, she is now 4-1-0 from six starts with earnings of $175,439.
Testa Rossi's victory gave her a fees-paid trip to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita, a race Brown won in its inaugural running in 2008 with Maram. Brown said he would also like to run Granny Mc's Kitten, winner of the P. G. Johnson at Saratoga, in the Breeders' Cup should she get in.
Also, Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains the runner-up, Sky Painter, and third-place finisher Dancing House, said the Juvenile Fillies Turf was under consideration for his late-closing duo.
“Both of them ran very well,” he said. “We're pleased with both. We were unlucky to lose a tough photo, but congratulations to the winning team. We'll talk about what's next.”
Completing the order of finish behind Granny Mc's Kitten were Duff One, Morethanawarning, Echale Salsita, Miss Frost, Bikini Beauty, Selenite, and Sea Bubble.
See the full chart here.
Miss Grillo (G3) Quotes
Chad Brown, winning trainer of Testa Rossi (No. 8) and fourth-place finisher Granny Mc's Kitten (No. 9): “You never know until you run them. Her works were good – they weren't great – but you know what? She's a good- looking horse, she's got good form and every week she seems to be improving. The idea was to go ahead and enter her, knowing she's on the improve. I wasn't concerned about the extra distance. I have a bunch of these fillies and I picked the two I thought would give me the best chance to win, and she was one of them.”
“Granny Mc's Kitten missed her last work. She had a great two days of training this week. In hindsight it might have compromised her a bit. If she has the credentials to get into the Breeders' Cup I sure would like to take her. Maybe she'll have smoother training going into that race.”
Jose Lezcano, winning jockey aboard Testa Rossi (No. 8): “She broke good, and I let her settle back. At the half-mile I angled out a little bit, and I had to decide if I had to go early. She showed me a lot of class. She pulled up a little bit [when she made the lead], but when she saw [Sky Painter] on the outside she gave a little more.”
Kiaran McLaughlin, trainer of runner-up Sky Painter (No. 1) and third-place finisher Dancing House (No. 1a): “It was a tough beat. Both of them ran very well. We're pleased with both. We were unlucky to lose a tough photo, but congratulations to the winning team. We'll talk about the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.”
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