09/28/2014 4:20PM

Lady Eli gives Brown third straight Miss Grillo victory


ELMONT, N.Y. – Chad Brown maintained his stranglehold on the Miss Grillo Stakes as Lady Eli led a 1 3/4-length finish for the trainer in the Grade 3 race for juvenile fillies on the turf at Belmont Park.

Sitting close to a crawling early pace under Irad Ortiz Jr., Lady Eli really turned it on in the final furlong to win the Miss Grillo by three lengths.

Margaret Reay, a 50-1 shot who stalked the early pace, finished second, 1 1/4 lengths over Tammy the Torpedo, the 6-5 favorite. Partisan Politics, who won the P.G. Johnson Stakes for Brown in Saratoga, finished fourth after getting away poorly.

It was the third straight year Brown won the Miss Grillo. Testa Rossi and Watsdachances, his last two winners of this race, went on to finish second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Brown hopes to take all three of his runners from Sunday’s race to Santa Anita for this year’s Juvenile Fillies Turf on Oct. 31. But in Lady Eli, Brown acknowledged, “You’re probably looking at the favorite for the race.”

Though Lady Eli only won her debut by a nose in Saratoga, she overcame a ton of traffic to get up.

On Sunday, Ortiz had Lady Eli in the clear, stalking Greywalls and Margaret Reay through pedestrian fractions of 25.47 seconds, 51.48, and 1:15.86 for six furlongs.

Lady Eli came four to five wide in the stretch and turned on the jets in the final furlong to gain the victory.

Lady Eli, a daughter of Divine Park owned Sheep Pond Partners, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.50 and returned $9.80 to win.

“My filly broke and put me in a perfect position,” Ortiz said. “I wanted to be covered up, but I had to stay there and sit third. As soon as I asked her, she just took off.”

Brown said Joel Rosario told him Tammy the Torpedo was compromised by a slow pace.

“He thought laying close to a slow pace wasn’t to her liking,” Brown said. “He said he’d like to try her in the same type of race further back.”

Brown thought Partisan Politics, who was 10th of 11 through the first six furlongs, did well to be fourth.

“Partisan Politics missed the break and was really in trouble the whole way,” he said. “She was a very troubled fourth, and Javier got off his horse and thought he was the best in the race.”