Argentine champion *Miss Grillo was imported to the U. S. in 1946 at the age of four. Racing for Mill River Stable, *Miss Grillo raced against the best horses of her day and became a true “cup” (stamina) champion. Her most important victory was the now G1 San Juan Capistrano at 1 3/4 miles and she set a new world record for 2 1/2 miles in the Pimlico Cup in 1948.
*Miss Grillo also won two editions of the Diana Handicap as well as the Exterminator, Black Helen, New York, New Castle Handicap and the Governor Bowie Handicaps plus a second edition of the Pimlico Cup. When she retired to stud, her pedigree ill-equipped her for a racing climate that was growing ever-faster, and as we now know, it was several generations before her best contributions came to light.
The chestnut mare was tail-female to the black Cremorne mare Kermesse, winner of the Champagne, July, Middle Park and New Stakes, and a quick one in her native England. Her huge extended family also includes such horses as 1961 Epsom Oaks and One Thousand Guineas winner Sweet Solera; Suburban Handicap winner Quiet Little Table; 1965 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Aunt Edith; Hollywood Derby winner Slew The Dragon; top handicapper Frankly Perfect; champion two-year-old Honest Pleasure and his full brother, G1 winner For The Moment; and Two Thousand Guineas winner Manna.
*Miss Grillo herself was by the Sundridge-line Rolando, winner of the Argentine Derby. Like most horses of her day, she was sex-balance inbred to both St. Simon and his sire, Galopin. She also carried a cross of St. Simon’s full sister Angelica via Orme.
Over time, a variety of speed lines from *Bull Dog to Double Jay to Menow to *Nasrullah to Raise A Native to Spy Song were added to *Miss Grillo’s stamina-laden lineage. They were, of course, precisely what such a mare required to do her best work.
*Miss Grillo, however, was not merely a receptacle for such speed; she had a contribution of her own to add and it was generally soundness rather than stamina. As a matter of fact, the majority of her important relations are rather quick horses, especially via her tail-female kin Marquetry, who has sired two winners of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Artax and Squirtle Squirt.
Quick individuals who are themselves tail-female to *Miss Grillo include You, Fashion Delight, and Rare Rock. Middle distance winners of import include Bright Crocus, Sparrow’s Air, Kesar Queen and =Tiger Bill.
Now something new has been added, the ability to swing back toward stamina. This we find with 2003 Epsom Oaks winner Casual Look, a daughter of Red Ransom who has *Miss Grillo as her fifth dam.
Casual Look is also, arguably, the best horse to descend from the Meadow Music branch of *Miss Grillo since King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner *Meadow Court, a foal of 1962. Not that Meadow Music has been without her high points. Kesar Queen ran third in the 1976 One Thousand Guineas, Bright Crocus ran second in the 1982 Kentucky Oaks, and Spellbound won the Hollywood Derby.
However, the Honey Lake branch has gotten the most recent sustained publicity via Marquetry’s sire contribution and You’s continued consistent success. There is a European branch of the Honey Lake clan, too, but it has had more good horses that placed rather than won in major races.
It is clear, however, that *Miss Grillo’s family is staging a comeback. When good horses begin to appear from a semi-dormant line, then breeders jump on the bandwagon and buy what tail-female kin they can find available. This spreads the wealth around and generally means that the revival will continue. All of which prompts us to add *Miss Grillo to the Reine-de-Course list along with her daughters Meadow Music and Honey Lake. With Casual Look and You representing these individual branches, we have a feeling they can only get better.