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2020 Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont Park

Plum Ali brings a perfect 2-for-2 record into the Grade 2, $150,000 Miss Grillo Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile inner turf test for juvenile fillies, at Belmont Park on Sunday, October 4.

The Miss Grillo is one of three graded events on Sunday’s lucrative 10-race program which also features the Grade 2, $150,000 Beldame Stakes at nine furlongs on Big Sandy for fillies and mares 3-years-old and upwards and the Grade 3, $150,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational at six furlongs for 3-year-olds and upward.

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Lovestruck 7-2 Junior Alvarado
120 Lbs
William Mott
2 Fifth Risk 4-1 Rider TBA
120 Lbs
Todd Pletcher
3 Mashnee Girl 50-1 Eric Cancel
120 Lbs
Mark Hennig
4 Caldee 3-1 Javier Castellano
120 Lbs
Brad Cox
5 Director’s Cut 10-1 Dylan Davis
120 Lbs
Mark Casse
6 Freedomofthepress 6-1 Jose Lezcano
118 Lbs
Chad Brown
7 Batyah 8-1 Charlie Marquez
120 Lbs
H. Motion
8 Plum Ali 5-2 Jose Ortiz
122 Lbs
Christophe Clement
9 Editor At Large (IRE) 5-1 Manuel Franco
120 Lbs
Chad Brown

Trained by Christophe Clement, Plum Ali graduated on July 23 with a two-length score in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight on the Saratoga turf under Joel Rosario. The First Samurai chestnut then shipped to Kentucky Downs to capture the one-mile Mint Juvenile Fillies by 2 ¾-lengths on September 7 with Tyler Gaffalione up.

Plum Ali exited her stakes score to post a pair of half-mile breezes on the Belmont inner turf including a 49.22-second breeze on September 7 with Jose Ortiz up, who will have the call from post 8.

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“She’s doing great. Jose Ortiz will ride and he has breezed her twice,” said Clement. “She’s a very nice filly and was impressive last time. We’re excited about her. She seems to handle the mile and a sixteenth.”

Clement said the filly has demonstrated talent and consistency through her first two starts.

“As she continues to run against better horses, we may find a limit, but for the moment we’re keeping the dream alive,” said Clement.

Bred in Kentucky by Stone Farm, Plum Ali is out of the Stroll mare Skipping and was purchased for $65,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Godolphin homebred Lovestruck, a regally bred Tapit gray out of the Mr. Prospector mare Love Style, is a half-sister to the late multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire and prominent sire Scat Daddy.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Lovestruck had an eventful debut in a 1 1/16-mile inner turf maiden on September 7 at Saratoga where she was steadied leaving the gate before finding a good inside tracking position in sixth under Junior Alvarado.

Lovestruck tipped out for a rugged stretch run that saw the filly in tight with Miss Grillo-rival Freedomofthepress, requiring Alvarado to angle out where she bumped firmly with another rival, Mrs. Frankel, before powering home to a one-length victory following an inquiry.

Lovestruck has breezed twice on the Oklahoma dirt training track following her debut score, including a half-mile effort in 49.25 on September 8. Alvarado retains the mount from the inside post.

Director’s Cut, who made her first three starts for trainer Tim Hamm and co-owner WinStar Farm, was purchased privately by film producer Gary Barber, the co-founder of Spyglass Entertainment and now the CEO of Spyglass Media, and transferred to the care of Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse for her New York debut.

The Exaggerator bay, bred in Kentucky by WinStar, graduated at second asking when stretched out to one mile on the Gulfstream Park turf rated good on July 23 where she bested Sleek Lynx, who is trained by Casse and owned by Barber.

Director’s Cut followed with a closing second in the Sharp Susan on August 29 at one mile on firm Gulfstream green in a race won by Spanish Loveaffair, who is also trained by Casse and co-owned by Barber.

“We had run against her and really liked her. We reached out to WinStar about buying her and now we have her,” said Casse. “I thought she had ran well. We really liked both of our fillies she ran against and she has a nice pedigree.”

The talented bay breezed a half-mile in 49.77 on September 27 on the Belmont inner turf and will be piloted in the Miss Grillo by Dylan Davis from post 5.

“We’ve had her for about a month now and she breezed well the other day at Belmont,” said Casse. “I think the mile and a sixteenth will help her.”

Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown, who will saddle Editor At Large and Freedomofthepress, has captured seven of the last eight runnings of the Miss Grillo and eight overall with past winners including Maram [2008], Watsdachances [2012], Testa Rossi [2013], Lady Eli [2014], New Money Honey [2016], Significant Form [2017], Newspaperofrecord [2018] and Selflessly [2019].

Peter Brant’s Editor At Large, an Irish-bred Lope de Vega chestnut, earned a 70 Beyer Speed Figure when graduating at first asking in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight on September 7 on the Saratoga turf. Manny Franco picks up the mount from post 9.

Klaravich Stables’ Freedomofthepress, by Mshawish, was purchased for $170,000 at the 2018 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. She stayed on strong to finish second behind Lovestruck in her September 7 debut and will have the services of Belmont fall meet leading rider Jose Lezcano from post 6 as she looks to graduate in style.

Shortleaf Stable’s Caldee, a More Than Ready bay, was fifth on debut when sprinting on the Saratoga main track on July 19. The Kentucky homebred followed with an impressive front-running score when stretched to 1 1/16-miles on the Saratoga turf on August 23 which garnered a field-best 78 Beyer.

Trained by Brad Cox, Caldee will exit post 4 under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, who was aboard for both previous starts.

Earle Mack’s Batyah, a dark bay daughter of Pioneerof the Nile, earned a 71 Beyer in her September 19 debut travelling one mile on the Belmont turf for trainer Graham Motion. Charlie Marquez will pilot the $150,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase from post 7.

Rounding out the field is Mashnee Stable’s New York homebred Mashnee Girl, winner of a restricted off-the-turf maiden sprint on September 3 at Saratoga for trainer Mark Hennig. The Air Force Blue bay will have the services of Eric Cancel from post 3.

Paul Pompa, Jr.’s Fifth Risk, trained by Todd Pletcher, is entered for the main-track only.

The Grade 2 Miss Grillo is slated as Race 7 on Sunday’s 10-race program, which offers a first post of 12:50 p.m. Eastern. – US Legal New York OTB is a great way to bet horse racing at Belmont Park. Available to customers across the United States, OTB features both Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing from major racing venues in the US as well as top international racing from Europe, Japan, Australia and Hong Kong.

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