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Large Field Assembled for Miss Grillo

A large cast of 2-year-old fillies, led by Fancy Point, will vie for an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf when they compete in Sunday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Miss Grillo at Belmont Park.

 

Fancy Point is one of three stakes winners entered in the Miss Grillo at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, having broken her maiden over the same distance in the P. G. Johnson over the Saratoga grass on September 1. Prior to that, the daughter of Point Given was fourth in a six-furlong maiden event on the dirt at the Spa on August 18.

 

“We wanted to see how she ran on the dirt,” said Will Phipps, who trains Fancy Point for Kinsman Stable, of the decision to have the chestnut debut on the main track. “She got in a little trouble and couldn’t switch leads. I think she is one of those rare fillies that’s amazing on any surface. Her action doesn’t change.”

 

Instead of having Fancy Point return in another maiden race, Phipps elected to have the juvenile face winners in the P. G. Johnson, and his confidence was rewarded with a 1 ½-length gate-to-wire victory.

 

“We wanted to answer the turf question, and it seemed like it’d be a spot where she could be competitive,” said Phipps.

 

The conditioner believes Fancy Point will be able to come from off the pace in the Miss Grillo, if need be.

 

“We’ll put her where it makes sense,” he said. “Obviously we know she has a big turn of foot and can carry off high cruising fractions. We’re lucky she’s such a versatile filly.”

 

Javier Castellano retains the mount aboard Fancy Point, who drew post position 7 as the 7-2 morning-line second choice.

 

Trainer Kelly Breen has entered a duo for owners George and Lori Hall – A Brilliant Idea and Sleepless Dixie, first and third, respectively, in the one-mile Junior Champion on the turf at Monmouth Park on August 29.

 

A Brilliant Idea opened her career by finishing third in a pair of sprints – a turf dash at Belmont on July 9 and a dirt event at Monmouth on August 7 – but the trainer always thought the daughter of Afleet Alex would ultimately prove most effective going long on grass.

 

“She has a high action and we thought she’d be better on the turf,” said Breen. “We wanted to run her at her home track, but they didn’t have any races on the turf.”

 

Breen also believed that Sleepless Dixie, who made three starts on the dirt prior to the Junior Champion, was destined for the grass.

 

“I train her half-brother, Sleepless Knight, and he won a stakes as a 3-year-old and is primarily a turf horse,” said Breen. “Sleepless Dixie is a little new to the turf, but she seems to be getting the hang of it.”

 

A Brilliant Idea and Sleepless Dixie will be coupled in the wagering and were tabbed at 8-1 on the morning line. Garrett Gomez will partner with A Brilliant Idea from post position 5, while Sleepless Dixie will leave from post 9 under Alan Garcia.

 

Trainer J.J. Toner was hopeful that Winter Memories, out of Grade 1-winning turf router Memories of Silver, could succeed around two turns in her initial start, and he was proven correct when she rallied to graduate by 1 ½ lengths at Saratoga on September 3.

 

“She’s bred to go long and she had a lot of bottom in her,” said Toner. “She just has to run back to that race, and if she does she’ll be very competitive.”

 

While Winter Memories has made just one start, Toner doesn’t believe his filly is at a disadvantage in the Miss Grillo.

 

“Usually most of the horses in these races have just broken their maidens,” said Toner. “We’re all in the same boat. It’s not like they’ve all run a dozen times – they’re all inexperienced.”

 

Winter Memories, installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite, drew the outside post in the field of 12. Jose Lezcano has the call.

 

Like Winter Memories, Excited enters the Miss Grillo off a debut victory at Saratoga, having overcome traffic trouble to prevail by a half-length on August 27. Trained by Todd Pletcher for owner Michael Tabor, the well-bred daughter of Giant’s Causeway will depart from post 4 under John Velazquez at 8-1 on the morning line.

 

Le Mi Geaux captured the Grade 3 Schuylerville in the slop at Saratoga on July 23, making her the lone graded stakes winner entered in the Miss Grillo. She enters Saturday’s race, which will be her first on the turf and beyond seven furlongs, off a fifth in the Grade 1 Spinaway at the Spa on September 5. Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux will pilot Le Mi Geaux, 15-1 on the morning line, from post 6.

 

Completing the field are Pleine Forme and Arch Support, respectively third and seventh in the P. G. Johnson; Table Talking, triumphant in two straight sprints on the dirt at Delaware Park; and recent maiden winners Silent Joy, Button Girl, and Come a Callin. Atlantic Voyage and Upper East Sider, both exiting dominant maiden victories in turf sprints, are also eligible and could draw into the race if any of the other entrants are scratched.

 

The field for the Grade 3 Miss Grillo:

Program No.

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

5

A Brilliant Idea (KY)

G K Gomez

121

K J Breen

8-1

1a

9

Sleepless Dixie (KY)

A Garcia

115

K J Breen

8-1

2

1

Pleine Forme (KY)

J Rose

115

H G Motion

5-1

3

2

Arch Support (KY)

E S Prado

117

G C Contessa

15-1

4

3

Silent Joy (KY)

R A Dominguez

117

M Nihei

8-1

5

4

Excited (KY)

J R Velazquez

117

T A Pletcher

8-1

6

6

Le Mi Geaux (KY)

K J Desormeaux

119

R E Dutrow, Jr.

15-1

7

7

Fancy Point (KY)

J Castellano

121

W Phipps

7-2

8

8

Button Girl (KY)

J R Leparoux

117

R E Nicks

12-1

9

10

Table Talking (KY)

E Coa

119

R L Graham

20-1

10

11

Come a Callin (FL)

C Hill

115

W I Mott

20-1

11

12

Winter Memories (KY)

J Lezcano

117

J J Toner

3-1

Also Eligibles:

 

12

13

Atlantic Voyage (KY)

R Maragh

117

C Clement

8-1

13

14

Upper East Sider (NY)

J Samyn

117

P J Kelly

5-1

 

 

 

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