10/01/2010 1:39PM

Belmont turf a different ballgame for Pilgrim, Miss Grillo runners

Barbara D. Livingston
Soldat, with Alan Garcia up, wins the With Anticipation at Saratoga.

ELMONT, N.Y. – By the end of the meet, the Saratoga turf courses had become so speed-favoring that it may have skewed some of the results.

Horses like Soldat, who won the Grade 3 With Anticipation laying close to the pace, may have benefited from the way the course was playing, while a horse like Winter Memories may have had that much more to overcome when she rallied from well off the pace to win a maiden 2-year-old filly race.

Sunday, both horses are in action in a pair of $150,000 stakes at Belmont that could produce one or more starters for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf to be run next month at Churchill Downs.

Soldat heads a field of nine entered in the Grade 3, $150,000 Pilgrim Stakes for juvenile colts and geldings, while Winter Melodies takes on a full field of juvenile fillies in the Grade 3, $150,000 Miss Grillo. Both races, run at 1 1/16 miles, are Win and You’re In races for the Breeders’ Cup. The Pilgrim will be run on the inner while the Miss Grillo will be run on the outer course.

Soldat, a son of War Front owned by Harvey Clarke and Craig Robertso, had finished second twice on dirt before trainer Kiaran McLaughlin moved him to the grass for the With Anticipation following a strong workout on turf. In the With Anticipation, Soldat stalked the speed of Typhoon Slew, before taking over in upper stretch and bounding home a three-length winner.

Soldat came back to work very well over the Belmont turf course last weekend, and McLaughlin’s biggest concern is how Soldat will handle a likely soft turf course on Sunday.

“He’s a very nice horse,” McLaughlin said. “We’re a little bit worried about the ground, because to me that’s one thing you never know, if a horse is going to like yielding turf until you run on it.”

Soldat breaks from the outside post under Alan Garcia in the eight-horse field.

Air Support finished fourth, seven lengths behind Soldat in the With Anticipation. Trainer Shug McGaughey believes his colt _ who won a maiden turf race earlier in the Saratoga meet – was compromised by the speed-favoring nature of the turf course and a bump at the start of the race.

“He got bumped a little bit in that race. He maybe got a little farther back than I thought he would, and you just couldn’t catch up on it,” McGaughey said. “After the race I thought to myself, when we get back to Belmont I think it’ll favor us a little bit more.”

Air Support breaks from post 4 under Rajiv Maragh.

The Flying Whizzer and Powhatan County, second and third respectively in the Continental Mile at Monmouth, and Deciphering Dreams, a maiden winner at Saratoga, are also contenders in this field.

Miss Grillo: Winter Memories seeks second straight

Winter Memories lived up to her breeding and her training when she rallied from 11 lengths back to win a 1 1/16-mile maiden race at Saratoga on Sept. 3. Forced to check around the far turn, she found room along the rail under Jose Lezcano and powered home a 1 1/2-length winner.

“A 2-year-old, you don’t know how they’re going to respond when they have an issue or problem,” trainer Jimmy Toner said, referring to the bit of trouble. “She recovered well and once he set her down she finished really well.”

Having Winter Memories perform well was big for Toner, who trained the filly’s mother, Memories of Silver, who won six graded stakes – two Grade 1’s – and earned $1.4 million.

“That’s what makes it more gratifying, when you trained the mother and you get some quality horses like this out of her,” said Toner, who trains Winter Memories for Phillips Racing Partnership, which also owned Memories of Silver.

Winter Memories will have to overcome post 12, though Toner doesn’t think that’s a concern.

“She’s a big filly in a way we just want to get her outside and in the clear anyway,” Toner said.

Trainer Kelly Breen ships in A Brilliant Idea and Sleepless in Dixie, the first- and third-place finishers from the Junior Champion Stakes at Monmouth on Aug. 29. Fancy Point and Pleine Forme, the first- and third-place finishers from the P.G. Johnson Stakes, are also contenders in this deep field.

Belle Cherie: Beautician still outside

Beautician had the outside post when 11 horses were entered in the $70,000 Belle Cherie Stakes on Thursday, but the race got scrapped when that day’s racing card was canceled because of weather.

Brought back for Sunday, Beautician remains on the outside in a re-drawn eight-horse field set to run one mile over the main track in the Belle Cherie.

Beautician, second in the Schuylerville and Spinaway at Saratoga as a 2-year-old, ended an 11-rce losing streak when she captured a seven-furlong allowance race at Saratoga on Aug. 29.

Her competition Sunday still includes stakes winners Ailalea, Touching Beauty, and Freud’s Notebook, as well recent allowance winners Quiet Giant and Kid Kate.

◗ Mike Kelly is the new agent for Alex Solis, replacing Brian Beach.