Pure Gossip in the Miss Grillo Stakes.

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Pure Gossip in the Miss Grillo Stakes.
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Coglianese Photos/NYRA

Belmont Turf Stakes Produce BC Hopefuls

Juveniles Shkspeare Shaliyah and Pure Gossip won 2-year-old grass stakes at Belmont.

Shkspeare Shaliyah and Pure Gossip turned in strong rallies to win two grade III turf stakes at Belmont Park Oct. 2 and appear headed to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

Shkspeare Shaliyah, owned by Shivmangal Racing Stable and trained by Doodnauth Shivmangal, won the $100,000 Pilgrim Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 2-year-olds (VIDEO). Flying Zee Stables’ Pure Gossip, trained by Phil Serpe, won the $100,000 Miss Grillo Stakes (gr. III) for 2-year-old fillies (VIDEO).

Shkspeare Shaliyah, co-second choice in the Pilgrim, rated in sixth and last for most of the race but rallied on the far outside on soft turf to win by a length over longshot Kitten's Kid. Favored Fantastic Song was third.

Fractions for the Pilgrim were set by Captain Webb, the co-second choice. They were pedestrian--:27.24 for the opening quarter-mile, :55.41 for a half-mile, and 1:45.47 for one mile. The winner, ridden by Alex Solis, finished up in 1:51.59 for 1 1/16 miles and paid $6.80 to win.

Team Valor International’s State of Play, two-for-two in his career on grass, was scratched from the Pilgrim because of the soft turf and will make his next start at Keeneland, according to the owners.

“I knew he was going to make that one big run, and the longer the races get, the more he wants to go,” Shivmangal said of the winner. “We refused a lot of money for this horse, but we didn’t sell him because we bought this horse for my granddaughter and there is no amount of money that can buy this horse. He is definitely headed to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT).”

Shkspeare Shaliyah, by Shakespeare out of the Clever Trick mare Tricky Mistress, was bred in Florida by Guilherme Bombonato and Angela Bombonato. He’s now two-for-three and broke his maiden on the grass in his previous start at Belmont.

Pure Gossip, third-longest shot at 23-1 in the Miss Grillo, was in contention throughout, then poked through a crowd late to win by 61/2 lengths over Royal Bonnie, who was placed fourth because of a bumping incident. Mystic Mamawas placed second, while Bourbonstreetgirl was place third.

Fractions for the Miss Grillo, also run on soft turf, were much faster than those produced in the Pilgrim a race later--:23.81 for the opening quarter-mile, :48.99 for the half-mile, and 1:14.76 for six furlongs. Pure Gossip, who quickly drew away in the final sixteenth of a mile, completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:47.71, about four seconds faster than the males in the Pilgrim.

The winner, ridden by Ryan Curatolo, paid $48.20 in her first start on grass. She had won her debut at Saratoga, then finished fourth in a restricted stakes at Saratoga; she is the latest New York-bred to win an open-company stakes.

“We liked her turf work (five furlongs in 1:02.40 Sept. 18 at Belmont), and she has trained on the turf more than one time,” Serpe said. “Her dam is a half sister to Street Game. It did not surprise us. She worked great on the turf; the question was the soft turf, but we thought she would be all right with it.”

Serpe said the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IIT) is on the radar screen for Pure Gossip, who is by Pure Prize out of the Dixieland Band mare Dixieland Achiever. She was bred in New York by Nustar Breeding LLC.