Selflessly was able to push forward at the top of the stretch to win the $200,000 Miss Grillo Stakes (G2) over a firm inner turf at Belmont Park on Sunday. The victory gave trainer Chad Brown his fourth in a row.
Selflessly, owned by Klaravich Stables, came into the 1 1/16-mile event for 2-year-old fillies as a maiden. She had only started one other time in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden event over the Saratoga turf. In that race, she finished in second behind Jazzique.
The dark bay daughter of More Than Ready broke from the outside post with Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano. The field consisted of eight horses, and Selflessly moved out to fourth early in the race. Ava K’s Girl held the lead as she crossed the opening 1/4 mile in 24.47. Wicked Title, the 73/1 longshot, was following closely on the outside.
Wicked Title was able to move ahead through the 1/2 mile, and Selflessly moved up to third as Ava K’s Girl settled into second.
As the field went into the far turn, Selflessly moved three-wide as Wicked Title began to fall back and Jazzique moved up to second. Selflessly was able to move ahead of Jazzique with 1/8 of a mile remaining. She kept strong as Crystalle tried to challenge, and she crossed the line to win by 3/4 of a length in a final time of 1:42.32.
Jazzique finished in third, while the rest of the order followed with Sparkling Sky, English Breeze, My Sassy Sarah, Wicked Title, and Ava K’s Girl.
Hall of Fame Jockey Castellano
Castellano spoke about Selflessly and her performance after the race.
“She did well. I had high expectations for her. She went 5 1/2 (furlongs) the first time, and I don’t think that’s the right distance for her,” said Castellano. “Today, we stretched her out to a mile and 1/16, and I think she was in a more comfortable rhythm. I didn’t have to hustle her too much. I liked the way she did it today. Very professional; she has a great mind and great body.
“I think she’s a horse that’s Breeders’ Cup (caliber). She can handle it. She’s well-bred and has a great trainer in Chad Brown. I was very fortunate to be in this spot.”
Brown’s Fourth Straight
The race on Sunday gave Brown his fourth straight and eighth overall Miss Grillo win. His previous ones were with Maram in 2008, Watsdachances in 2012, Testa Rossi in 2013, Lady Eli in 2014, New Money Honey in 2016, Significant Form in 2017, and Newspaperofrecord in 2018.
“I think stretching out and the experience from that first start were the keys here. She ran a really good race on debut and was unlucky not to win,” Brown said. “She galloped out well in the race, and she has really done everything right since her debut. With these 2-year-olds, we get them started when they’re ready and let them come along at their own pace. She came into this race really training well, and I just treated the debut as if she won.”
Selflessly is also one of the nominated horses for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park.