The Pilgrim and the Miss Grillo respectively are Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” races for the Juvenile Turf and Juvenile Fillies Turf, and Brown said both Noble Tune and Watsdachances will now target those races in early November at Santa Anita.
“At the three-eighths pole I was towards the outside,” said Dominguez. “I wanted to keep my options open to have first run at them if I could. Having said that, they were spreading out enough where to continue my run on the outside I was going to really have to go wide throughout the whole turn. So, I chose to go on the inside and sort of cut the corner. I just had to push the button towards the middle of the turn because the other horse for Chad [Brown, Saint Vigeur] was on the outside and gaining enough ground where I could have been stuck. As soon as I asked him he just took off and cut the corner beautifully and got into the clear. I was very impressed by that move.”
In his previous start, Noble Tune employed a similar turn of foot to break his maiden by 3 ½ lengths.
“[The Pilgrim] was much like his debut,” said Brown, who won the Grade 3 Bourbon, another turf race for 2-year-olds, on Sunday at Keeneland with Balance the Books. “I thought he was very professional; he did some things you see experienced horses do. It’s always encouraging to see a horse with this much class who has the sense to maneuver around, slip inside, slip outside, accelerate, and switch off early in the race.”
Noble Tune, the 6-5 favorite, returned $4.60 for a $2 win wager and completed 1 1/16 miles over the yielding inner turf course in 1:47.81.
With the $90,000 winner’s share of the Pilgrim purse, Noble Tune has earned $141,000. He was bred in Kentucky by Dell Ridge Farm, which owns the son of Unbridled’s Song in partnership with Martin Schwartz.
Notacatbutallama chased Noble Tune home to finish second and was followed by Special Skills, Quinzieme Monarque, Saint Vigeur, Cerro, and West Hills Giant. Read the Proposal was scratched, as were main-track-only entrants Bernie the Jet and James Jingle.
Watsdachances made an inexorable charge to win the Miss Grillo by 2 ¼ lengths after racing well off the pace in eighth along the backstretch. Scrubbed along by Javier Castellano rounding the bend, the Diamond Green filly drove between foes in midstretch and gradually reeled in pacesetter Manuka Honey with a sixteenth to travel. Sustained overtook Manuka Honey late to finish second.
“She’s amazing. She’s a pretty tiny horse, pretty short and small, she runs with her head down, but she has real heart,” said Castellano. “She split horses, she went through a little tight hole and she took off. I know the pace kind of helped my filly; I feel they went quick enough 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.”
Backed as the 6-5 favorite, Watsdachances returned $4.40 and ran 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf course in 1:47.90.
Brown lauded Castellano for his winning ride.
“This filly was very professional, ran super,” said Brown. “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.”
Watsdachances began her career in Ireland, breaking her maiden at Navan in April in her second start before she was imported by new owners Michael E. Kisber and Bradley Thoroughbreds. She is unbeaten in the United States, having won Saratoga’s P.G. Johnson by a neck on August 29.
“Peter Bradley found this filly in Europe and was adamant about buying her,” said Brown. “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, bred in Ireland by P.G. Lyons, has now earned $164,582.
Fly Again, Wave Theory, Three Hearts, Buckingham Bull, Atlantic Dream, Effie Trinket, and Adriani completed the order of finish. Fearless Jacq and Summer of Fun were scratched.