10/06/2012 12:33PM

Belmont Park: Watsdachances tops Brown's trio in Miss Grillo Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Watsdachances will try to earn a berth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf with a win in the Grade 3, $150,000 Miss Grillo Stakes.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Led by Watsdachances, trainer Chad Brown will take three shots at Monday’s Grade  3, $150,000 Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont Park, hoping to get back to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, the inaugural running of which Brown won four years ago with Maram.

Brown also will send out maidens Wave Theory and Atlantic Dream in the Miss Grillo, a 1 1/16-mile grass race that drew a field of 12.

The Miss Grillo is one of three grass stakes on a Columbus Day program that also includes the Grade 3, $150,000 Pilgrim for 2-year-old males and the $150,000 Pebbles for 3-year-old fillies. The Miss Grillo and Pilgrim, moved from Sunday to avoid inclement weather, award automatic berths into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and Juvenile Turf, respectively, as part of the Win and You’re In program.

Watsdachances, an Irish-bred daughter of Diamond Green, made a successful North American debut when she outfinished Broken Spell to take the P.G. Johnson Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 29. Broken Spell came back to run a solid second in a field of 14 in Friday’s Alcibiades at Keeneland.

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For Watsdachances, the P.G. Johnson was her first race in four months and first beyond five furlongs.

“We try to have our European horses well prepared when we do run, but at the same time we look forward to them exiting their races being able to improve, and she appears to be doing that,” said Brown, who trains Watsdachances for Bradley Thoroughbreds and Michael Kisber. “If she does come forward at all off that race, she’s going to be tough.”

In Ireland, Watsdachances showed the ability to win on soft ground, a scenario that could be in play Monday.

With the spate of wet weather forcing many turf races to the dirt lately, Brown decided to run the maidens Wave Theory and Atlantic Dream in the Miss Grillo.

Wave Theory, a daughter of Smart Strike owned by Martin Schwartz, finished second in her debut Aug. 25 at Saratoga, getting a ground-saving trip early before appearing to lose focus when tipped out into the clear in upper stretch. After jockey Jose Lezcano got her attention, Wave Theory rallied to come within a neck of Summer of Fun at the wire. Summer of Fun also is in the Miss Grillo.

“She was a little green there down the lane, lost her focus a little bit, coming in and out,” Brown said of Wave Theory. “When she figured out what she was supposed to do, she put her head down and came running and just missed.”

Brown thought Atlantic Dream was compromised at the start of her debut, where she finished fourth. Brown said he anticipates changing tactics with Atlantic Dream, “getting her into the race” a little earlier under Ramon Dominguez.

Contention appears to run deep in the Miss Grillo. Fly Again, a daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus, was visually impressive rallying from last off a modest pace over yielding turf at 25-1 for trainer Eddie Kenneally. She loses Lezcano, who rides Wave Theory, and picks up Eddie Castro.

Sustained, a daughter of War Front, looked good winning a maiden race going 1 1/16 miles on turf at Saratoga after finishing third in her debut sprinting on dirt.

“I love that filly, I think she’s a really good one,” trainer Dale Romans said. “She showed me she still has a little room for improvement, and her work the other day was very good.”

The New York-bred Effie Trinket is 2 for 2 sprinting on dirt. But trainer Rick Violette has worked her twice on the turf and loved each breeze.

“I think she’s special on grass,” Violette said.

Fearless Jacq, Buckingham Bull, Adriani, Manuka Honey, and Three Hearts complete the field.