10/06/2013 6:12PM

Belmont Park: Brown sweeps Pilgrim and Miss Grillo again

Barbara D. Livingston
Testa Rossi, trained by Chad Brown, edges Sky Painter by a nose in the Grade 3 Miss Grillo on Sunday.

ELMONT, N.Y. - As he did a year ago, trainer Chad Brown swept the pair of graded turf stakes for juveniles at Belmont Park on Sunday, and he will be well stocked to take on the world next month in the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.

In the Grade 3, $200,000 Pilgrim Stakes for colts and geldings, a stalking Bobby’s Kitten romped to a 6 1/4-length victory over the late-running Shadow Banking, also trained by Brown.

Thirty minutes later, in the Grade 3, $200,000 Miss Grillo Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, Testa Rossi rallied from last and held off fellow closer Sky Painter by a nose.

Since both races were Win and You’re In events, Bobby’s Kitten and Testa Rossi earned fees-paid berths into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, respectively, to be held on Nov. 1.

[BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE: Win and You’re In schedule and results]

Last year, Brown finished second and third in the Juvenile Turf with Noble Tune - last year’s Pilgrim winner - and Balance the Books. He also finished second in the Juvenile Fillies Turf with Watsdachances, who won the Miss Grillo. Brown won the 2008 Juvenile Fillies Turf with Maram.

“We like to point to these races," Brown said. "As you know, we’ve had some luck. We try to go with the ones we think are standing out and try to pick right if we can. This group of horses we’re bringing in there had really been training well all summer. Testa Rossi obviously came in later, but so far it’s all working out. We’ll take our chances.”

Bobby’s Kitten, named by owner Ken Ramsey in honor of the late Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, won for the second time in three starts.

Under Javier Castellano, Bobby’s Kitten settled into a stalking position after breaking on top. He was a length off Marvin’s Miracle through six furlongs in 1:12.26 before taking over in upper stretch and drawing clear. Bobby’s Kitten, a son of Kitten’s Joy, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.37 and returned $5.70 as the 9-5 favorite.

Shadow Banking, last through the opening half-mile, rallied four wide in the stretch under Jose Ortiz to get second by a half-length over Captain’s Affair. Due Diligence was fourth.

Brown said watching the race he was a little concerned that Castellano had to wrestle with Bobby’s Kitten to get him off the pace. But when he saw the slow half-mile time of 48.13, he felt better.

“When I saw the fractions I wasn’t worried anymore,” Brown said. “As I was watching him, I was confident he could finish.”

Brown was pleased with Shadow Banking’s ability to rally from last off those slow fractions as well as firing another good race less than four weeks after winning his debut.

“Shadow Banking’s a real player in the division, too,” Brown said. “I’m taking them both if they’re both healthy.”

Brown may also take two for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Testa Rossi, making her first start in the U.S. after winning 3 of 5 starts sprinting in France, rallied from last under Jose Lezcano, about seven lengths back after six furlongs, to take the Miss Grillo over Sky Painter, who just lost a bob at the wire.

Sky Painter finished four lengths in front of her entrymate Dancing House, while Granny Mc’s Kitten, the 9-5 favorite trained by Brown, finished fourth.

Testa Rossi, a French-bred daughter of Dr Fong owned by James Covello and Thomas Coleman, hadn’t run since July 7 and had never been beyond seven furlongs. While Brown said he was confident Testa Rossi could get the distance, he was a little uneasy with how far back she was early on in Sunday’s race.

“She was breezing good, not great," Brown said. "What she was lacking cover in the morning. Once she found a pack of horses to follow I saw a different dimension of her today, which I was cautiously optimistic I’d see.”

Brown noted that Granny Mc’s Kitten missed her final work leading into the Miss Grillo last weekend due to being “under the weather.”

“In hindsight it might have compromised her a little bit,” Brown said. “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.”

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said he would consider sending both Sky Painter and Dancing House to the Breeders' Cup. Sky Painter, making her first start since winning a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race at Saratoga on Aug. 22, rallied strongly under Luis Saez to just miss. Dancing House, making her first start on the turf after two races on dirt, ran a respectable third.

Sky Painter “obviously had just broken her maiden, so to come back in a longer race, a Grade 3, she ran a great race,” McLaughlin said. “Dancing House had some traffic and she had to wait. She also ran very well.”