ELMONT, NY – Trainer Christophe Clement’s Plum Ali is still perfect through 3 career starts after a scintillating score in Sunday’s $150,000 Miss Grillo Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park.
Plum Ali broke from post 8 under Jose Ortiz as the even-money favorite and sat off while saving ground as the field exited the chute onto the outer turf.
Caldee went to the lead and set opening fractions of :24.81, :48.06, and 1:11.58. Plum Ali ranged up along the rail on the backstretch, then tipped out to run two-wide in the far turn.
Sweeping past the pacesetter quickly, Plum Ali straightened for home on the lead. Editor At Large chased in vain behind her, but there was no catching the winner.
Plum Ali crossed 2 1/4 lengths clear while completing the 1 1/16-mile firm turf route in 1:42.03.
“She’s very classy,” Ortiz said. “I had the opportunity to work her twice and got to know her a little bit these past couple of weeks. The first week, she worked well. The second week, she worked amazing. She gave me a lot of confidence going into the race. She had a great trip and I followed the right horse, and when I was ready to make my move, I did.”
Caldee dug in late and held back Editor At Large to take second by a nose.
Mashnee Girl and Director’s Cut completed the order of finish in the race restricted to 2-year-old fillies.
Lovestruck (veterinarian), Fifth Risk (Main Track Only entry), Freedomofthepress, and Batyah were scratched.
Plum Ali’s win followed a debut score at Saratoga on July 23 and her first stakes victory in the Mint Juvenile Fillies at Kentucky Downs on September 7. The First Samurai filly, purchased for $65,000 as a yearling, has now earned $413,500 for co-owners Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, and Bethlehem Stables.
“She’s a very nice filly,” Clement said. “She’s won in different scenarios, different tracks, and different jockeys. That’s what good horses do. They face the challenge and they win. It’s very exciting. It’s nice when they keep facing these things and win.”
Plum Ali returned $4.30 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.10 to show. Caldee brought back $2.80 to place and $2.30 to show, while Editor At Large paid $2.30 to show.