10/09/2013 12:19PM

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf: Leading contender My Conquestadory might go to Juvenile Fillies instead

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Coady Photography/Keeneland
My Conquestadory showed so much ability in her win in the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland that the filly once thought destined for the Juvenile Fillies Turf may run in the Juvenile Fillies.

The field for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf seemed close to being set before being thrown a big curve, one that directly affects the $2 million BC Juvenile Fillies.

That’s because the talented filly My Conquestadory showed so much ability in her win in the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland that the filly once thought destined for the Juvenile Fillies Turf may run in the Juvenile Fillies.

Not many fillies can do what My Conquestadory just did: win a graded race against males on turf in her career debut and then switch surfaces and win a Grade 1 race on Polytrack in another country in her second.

Said her trainer, Mark Casse: “I was saying to someone the other day – ‘Do you ever think there was a horse who ran twice and won two graded stakes?’

“We felt all along, she was special.”

Going into the Alcibiades, Casse had penciled in My Conquestadory for a run at the Juvenile Fillies Turf, since she had trained on Polytrack at her home base of Woodbine and seemed bred for turf, being by top turf runner Artie Schiller. Then came the Alcibiades, where she got away poorly and then had to steady in heavy traffic in the middle of the race before drawing away to a convincing victory.

“I thought her first race was good,” Casse said of the Conquest Stable filly. “But what she overcame on Friday [in the Alcibiades], that was beyond any expectations. I said before the race, that as long as we break, they won’t beat this filly. And 10 strides into the race, that was my first thought. I really wanted people to see how talented she is. But she overcame that. I’ve seen a lot of good horses that couldn’t overcome what she overcame. It was a big obstacle.”

At dinner after the race, Casse was with Conquest Stable owners Ernie Semersky and Dory Newell and they were discussing options.

Related Casse: “Ernie says, ‘We’re going to run in the Turf, buddy. I’m not worried about the money.’ And I said, ‘The difference in the two purses, I’m not worried, either. But the difference is, if she has the chance to be a champion, she more than likely would have to win the dirt race.’ And he said, ‘Okay, now you’ve got my attention.’ ”

Casse sent the filly to Churchill on Monday to train on the dirt track to see how she handles it. She is expected to breeze several times, the first being easy. Casse said he would likely bring in her rider, Eurico Rosa da Silva, to work her, the second work being the serious one. After that work, the owners and trainer will make a decision.

While everyone is waiting for that announcement, there were several big races for the division that helped sort out the best juvenile fillies on turf on both coasts.

At Santa Anita, home site of the Breeders’ Cup, Irish-bred Clenor reaffirmed her status as the best in the West by posting a three-quarter-length victory over Nesso in the one-mile Surfer Girl on turf as the favorite. Trained by Doug O’Neill, Clenor is undefeated in three starts in the United States after losing her first three in her native country, and she will be a tough customer in the Juvenile Fillies Turf on her home grounds.

Nesso, on the lead in her first two starts, showed another dimension by coming from off the pace in the Surfer Girl. A rallying third in the race was Colonel Joan, who is a maiden after three starts, though the Surfer Girl was her first start on turf.

On the East Coast at Belmont Park, French-bred Testa Rossi made her U.S. debut a success by winning the Grade 3 Miss Grillo, a Win and You’re In race at 1 1/16 miles on turf. She made a big, sweeping move on the turn to wrest the lead before tiring late and just holding off Sky Painter, who was making her second career start. Now trained by Chad Brown, Testa Rossi, purchased privately by James Covello, Thomas Coleman, and DMZ Racing Stable, has won four straight after losing her first two starts in France.

Brown, who has won the Miss Grillo three times, also saddled the race favorite, Granny Mc’s Kitten, but that Ramsey Stable homebred could only finish fourth. Brown said she had missed a work and had not been herself prior to the Miss Grillo.

“Testa Rossi’s works were good – they weren’t great – but you know what? She’s a good-looking horse, she’s got good form, and every week she seems to be improving,” said Brown, who won the Miss Grillo last year with Watsdachances and the 2008 edition with eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Maram. “I have a bunch of these fillies and I picked the two I thought would give me the best chance to win, and she was one of them.”

The Grade 3 Jessamine at Keeneland at 1 1/16 miles on turf on Wednesday is a Win and You’re In for the Juvenile Fillies Turf, and that will be the last major prep in setting the field for the Nov. 1 Juvenile Fillies Turf.