06/03/2017 7:46PM

Grand Jete stays perfect since coming to U.S. by taking Eatontown

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Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Grand Jete, under Joe Bravo, delivers as the favorite in the Grade 3 Eatontown.

Grand Jete came into 2017 with modest accomplishments that placed her among the corps in Chad Brown’s talented company of turf fillies and mares. However, she served notice that she’s ready to become a principal with a victory in the Grade 3, $100,000 Eatontown Stakes Saturday at Monmouth Park, outkicking stablemate Light in Paris to remain unbeaten in the United States.

Grand Jete, a Juddmonte Farm homebred by Dansili, won once from eight starts in France last year, although she finished on the board six times. Transferred to Brown’s care, she made her first start on American soil a winning one, dominating a Keeneland allowance by 4 1/4 lengths in April.

Off that effort, Grand Jete ($5) was sent away as the favorite in the Eatontown under Monmouth regular Joe Bravo. The partners sat eighth in the field of 11, about 6 1/2 lengths back, as Quiet Kitten and Cali Thirty Seven took the field through an opening half-mile of 47.57 seconds.

Grade 3 winner Zipessa, who got a perfect trip behind those two leaders in third, began to turn up the pressure through six furlongs in 1:11.49. She struck the front in upper stretch as Light in Paris, winner of the Plenty of Grace Stakes at Aqueduct in her prior outing, loomed the danger. But meanwhile, Grand Jete, who had been making headway while waiting for running room, angled four wide into the lane under Bravo, the decisive move. The filly lengthened her stride willingly, inhaling her stablemate in the final yards to win by 1 1/4 lengths going away.

“I expected to sit closer than I did, but I knew there were some rapid fillies and they were doing their thing up front,” Bravo said. “She knew when the race broke, she got us into a good position and made my job really easy. Her turn of foot was huge.”

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The final time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:41.30.

Light in Paris, who had been sent away as the second choice, was second by three-quarters of a length over Zipessa – who in turn held third by a nose over Tricky Escape, the longest shot on the board .

Several account wagering sites, including DRF Bets and TVG portals, reported an issue accepting wagers on the race due to a tote issue. According to Equibase charts, handle on the race in the win, place, and show pools was $160,120, compared with $176,016 for the 2016 edition.