by Keith McCalmont
Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables’ Plum Ali kept a perfect 3-for-3 record intact with a smart 2 1/4 length score under Jose Ortiz in Sunday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Miss Grillo, a 1 1/16-mile inner turf test for juvenile fillies at Belmont Park.
Trained by Christophe Clement, the First Samurai chestnut saved ground in fourth position as Caldee, piloted by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, led the five-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in 24.81 seconds with Director’s Cut, under Dylan Davis, tracking outside in second.
Ortiz sent Plum Ali up the hedge to gain third position down the backstretch with Editor At Large, in rein to Manny Franco, gaining ground outside rivals from the back of the pack as Caldee marked the half-mile in 48.06 on the firm turf.
With Director’s Cut fading, Plum Ali edged closer through the turn and angled off the rail for the stretch run, easily overtaking Caldee with Editor At Large looked to make her run outside the leaders. Kept to task under Ortiz, Plum Ali continued to find separation down the lane and powered to a decisive victory in a final time of 1:42.03.