Chriselliam powered home a clear winner of the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park Nov. 1 (VIDEO), proving her form after a Sept. 27 score in the Shadwell Fillies Mile (Eng-I) at Newmarket.
Off at odds of 6-1, the Charles Hills trainee rated well early for jockey Richard Hughes and gradually moved up to a prime position in fourth coming off the far turn in the one-mile race. She swung four wide with grade I winner My Conquestadory in her sights, and put away that foe with a handy late kick in the final sixteenth to finish 2 1/2 lengths ahead on the line.
"Absolutely brilliant; I couldn't be more pleased," Hills said. "She was pretty sensational today."
Chriselliam was well back in the field of 14 while Nesso struck out for the early lead through a quarter in :22.47 and a half in :46.31. Still with the advantage at the three-quarter mark in 1:10.08, the front-runner eventually conceeded when My Conquestadory took the lead. That highly regarded filly seemed poised to carry on, but Chriselliam ran her down through seven-eighths in 1:22.02 before finishing in a final time of 1:33.72.
"She's one of the best fillies I've ridden and she proved it today," Hughes said. "She had no problem adapting to the firm turf and had a nice rhythm going down the backstretch. I won the group I with her the first time I got on her at Newmarket.
"The trainer asked me to gallop her after that and I told him after the gallop, that if I hadn't ridden her before, I would have never thought she would get the mile because she has so much speed. This is one of the biggest wins of my career."
An Irish-bred daughter of Irish-based stallion Iffraaj, Chriselliam is co-owned by retired British champion jockey Willie Carson along with Miss Emily Asprey and Christopher Wright. She returned $15.80, $7.80, and $6.20, while late-closing Testa Rossi paid $11.20 and $9 after getting up for second by half a length over Colonel Joan ($16.60). My Conquestadory finished fourth by a head over Dancing House.
Trainer Chad Brown, who conditioned four starters in the race including the runner-up–along with Ready to Act, 6th, Kitten Kaboodle, 11th, and Granny's McKitten, 12th–took nothing away from Chriselliam.
"The winner looked very impressive to me, so I can't say if there was anything that cost me the win," Brown said. "I'm proud of the way Testa Rossi ran. She fired another big one for me. She's a nice filly.
"I thought Ready to Act ran quite well. She was right up there attending a strong pace and still looked like she was trying to hang on for a piece late. The other two 'Kitten' horses, it just seemed like they made a little middle move and flattened out, according to their jockeys. I'll analyze the race and see how they came out of there. Clearly, Testa Rossi ran the best."
After Dancing House, Ready to Act, Vorda, Clenor, Sky Painter, Nesso, Kitten Kaboodle, Granny Mc's Kitten, Street Sailing, and Al Thakhira completed the order of finish.
Jockey Olivier Peslier blamed the hard ground on the seventh-place finish of 5-2 favorite Vorda.
"It may have been the ground today," he said. "She was more comfortable last time at Newmarket on softer turf and the competition was tougher today, (but) she'll be all right next year."
Foaled in Ireland by breeder Ballylinch Stud, Chriselliam is out of the Danehill mare Danielli. She improved her record to three wins and a second from six starts and earnings of $729,684.