Watsdachances gave trainer Chad Brown a sweep of the graded events at Belmont Park in New York Oct. 8, winning the $150,000 Miss Grillo Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO). Earlier in the afternoon, her stablemate, Noble Tune, captured the $150,000 Pilgrim Stakes (gr. IIIT).
"I'm very proud of these two," said Brown following the Miss Grillo. "You know, you spend a lot of time training them in the mornings, observing them and trying to make sure we've set up the training schedules, doing the right thing. It's rewarding when they go out there and do it in the afternoon. They're two nice horses and we're lucky to have them in the barn."
Ridden by Javier Castellano, favored Watsdachances rallied from eighth in the field of 10 juvenile fillies. She reached a hole in the upper stretch before Sustained and got through after appearing to brush that rival during her charge. Then she split horses around the eighth pole and broke free in her drive to the wire, winning by 2 1/4 lengths.
Sustained finished second, a length ahead of Manuka Honey. Another 1 3/4 lengths behind in fourth was Fly Again, who edged Wave Theory by a neck for that position. Rounding out the field were Three Hearts, Buckingham Bull, Atlantic Dream, Effie Trinket, and Adriani. Summer of Fun and Fearless Jacq were scratched.
"She's amazing," said Castellano of Watsdachances. "She's a pretty tiny horse, pretty short and small, and she runs with her head down. But she has real heart. She went through a tight hole and she took off. I know the pace kind of helped my filly. I feel they went quick enough (:24.77 for the first quarter-mile and :49.60 for the half), and my horse sat behind the mid-pack. Turning for home, I had to (decide) which way to go, and I decided to wait. Turning for home she split horses and did it the right way."
Owned by Michael Kisber and Bradley Thoroughbreds, Watsdachances completed 1 1/16 miles over a yielding course in 1:47.90.
"She ran great," Brown said. "This filly was very professional; she ran super. Javier gave her a terrific ride. To be that patient and wait for a seam on the inside... Javier made a big difference today. He rode her with a lot of confidence and made good decisions out there."
The Miss Grillo effort provided Watsdachances with her third victory in four career races. She has earned $164,582.
A bay daughter of Diamond Green out of the Entrepreneur mare High Finance, Watsdachances was bred by P.G. Lyons in Ireland and made her first two starts there, finishing third and then winning by six lengths in a pair of five-furlong events.
In August, Watsdachances began running for Kisber and Bradley Thoroughbreds and also had her initial race in this country, winning the 1 1/16-mile P.G. Johnson Stakes on grass by a neck over Broken Spell at Saratoga Race Course. That was Watsdachances' last outing prior to the Miss Grillo.
"Peter Bradley (of Lexington-based Bradley Thoroughbreds) found this filly in Europe and was adamant about buying her," Brown said. "He put a group together, including Michael Kisber and some of the other partners. They all put a lot of work into it, too, trying to find these horses and they found a real good one here."
Watsdachances paid her Miss Grillo backers $4.40, $2.90, and $2.60. Sustained returned $4.70 and $3.30 while Manuka Honey paid $7.30.
The Miss Grillo is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" Challenge race for the Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IIT) next month at Santa Anita Park in California.