09/29/2009 11:00PM

Zodiac Girl following proven path to goal


They're a late-arriving crowd, the probables for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

With limited opportunities to establish stakes form on the grass at the race's one-mile distance, it has been difficult to discern the division's chief players. But the picture could become a lot clearer over the weekend when three stakes will be run that are expected to produce starters for the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf on Nov. 6 at Santa Anita.

Of the three, the most significant might be in New York on Sunday. The Grade 3, $150,000 Miss Grillo at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Belmont Park produced last year's Juvenile Fillies Turf winner, Maram. This year, Chad Brown, who trains Maram, will be represented in the Miss Grillo with Zodiac Girl.

"It worked for us last year," he said. "We thought we'd use the same path."

Brown noted that Zodiac Girl comes into the Miss Grillo with the exact credentials Maram had going into last year's running - a debut win in a $75,000 maiden claimer at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Saratoga in late August. Zodiac Girl closed for a three-length win and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 80. Her connections want to see another strong race Sunday to advance to the Breeders' Cup.

"She's a real easy going filly, real easy to train, but very competitive," Brown said. "Put her in around other horses, she tries hard. And she likes the turf. I like what I've seen from her so far."

The Miss Grillo carries a Win and You're In guaranteed-spot designation for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Tapitsfly, who won the $73,000 P.G. Johnson at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Saratoga, could go favored in the Miss Grillo for trainer Dale Romans. Trainer Graham Motion said earlier this week that he could enter two: Smart Seattle, the runner-up in the P.G. Johnson, and Zilva, a maiden winner at Saratoga.

The Group 1 Cheveley Park for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs at Newmarket on Friday is expected to draw Lady of the Desert, who is under consideration for the Juvenile Fillies Turf, according to the International Racing Bureau. The other divisional stakes this weekend is the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac is for 2-year-old fillies at about a mile on turf at Longchamp on Sunday. It will be run on the undercard of the Arc de Triomphe.

Door left open for Bay to Bay

Bay to Bay, who won the Grade 3, $150,000 Natalma at a mile on turf at Woodbine on Sept. 19, would have to supplement to the Juvenile Fillies Turf for $90,000. She was initially expected to pass, but owner Robert Smithen is considering a start, said trainer Brian Lynch.

"There's a hint there he could change his mind," Lynch said.

Lynch said Bay to Bay could run next in either the Grade 3, $250,000 Mazarine at Woodbine on Oct. 10, or the Grade 1 Alcibiadies at Keeneland on Oct. 9.

Jungle Tale, the runner-up in the Natalma, had her first work since the race Monday, and a decision has yet to be made whether she will race one more time before a possible start in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, said her trainer, Steve Asmussen.

* House of Grace, who won her maiden by five lengths in a 1 1/16-mile turf race at Saratoga, is being pointed for the $150,000 Jessamine at Keeneland on Oct. 15, said her trainer, Ken McPeek. He said with a good effort there she would advance to the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

* Lisa's Kitten, a maiden winner at 1 1/16 miles on turf last out at Belmont Park, is also targeting the Jessamine, and with the right kind of race she, too, could move on to the Breeders' Cup, said her trainer, Mike Maker.