Grace Hall, the 2011 Spinaway winner, couldn’t get trainer Tony Dutrow back to the Saratoga Race Course winner’s circle.
So Many Ways did, though.
Grace Hall finished fifth in the Alabama two weeks ago, but So Many Ways came from off the pace to win the Spinaway by 21⁄2 lengths over Sweet Shirley Mae, as heavy favorite Teen Pauline couldn’t hold the lead and faded to third.
“We’ve won it two years in a row, and I can’t believe where I’m standing right now,” Dutrow said.
A fleece blanket giveaway-inflated crowd of 59,187 appeared to be on its way to witnessing the coronation of another promising young Stonestreet Stables filly, as impressive maiden winner Teen Pauline, who went off at 3-5, held off Corail to take the lead at the top of the stretch.
Teen Pauline broke a track record by running five furlongs in 56.53 seconds on July 25, but couldn’t sustain her lead in stretching out from five furlongs to seven for the Spinaway.
So Many Ways may not have run a fast time in her previous start at Saratoga, but it came in the Grade III Schuylerville on opening day.
And it was a victory.
Dutrow said that race gave him plenty of confidence heading into the Spinaway, even with the presence of Teen Paulin, who is trained by Steve Asmussen and was ridden by Julien Leparoux.
“From how she ran in the Schuylerville, I was really feeling that she would improve off of that today,” Dutrow said. “I didn’t know if that was going to be good enough, because I didn’t know how good and talented Asmussen’s filly was. I knew she was talented, but I didn’t know how good. I’m not surprised, but I sure am happy.”
The Spinaway was the first Grade I victory for owner Maggi Moss.
When asked if the stretchout was a factor at all for Teen Pauline’s loss, Asmussen said he believed that the condition of the track was a more significant one.
“I think how heavy the track played today was a factor,” he said. “They closed like crazy. It was just a completely different track from the one she broke her maiden on.”
The field was reduced from seven to five with the scratch of Dreaming of Julia, Teen Pauline’s stablemate who won by 101⁄2 lengths on Aug. 6, and Schuylerville third-place finisher Baby J.
Teen Pauline, a daughter of Tapit, had already been the 7-5 morning-line favorite coupled with Dreaming of Julia, and was bet down much further despite the scratch.
So Many Ways, ridden by Javier Castellano, sat behind early fractions of 22.29 for the quarter-mile and 45.13 for the half, as Teen Pauline felt some pressure from long shot Corail, a debut winner at Saratoga for trainer Todd Pletcher on Aug. 1.
“I had a beautiful trip,” Castellano said. “She’s pretty quick out of the gate, and she settled beautiful behind the two horses. Those two pacemakers, they helped to set up my race.
“I love my filly. She’s been training phenomenal, and the last time I rode her, she was very impressive. I think she’s going to be really good. She’s got a long, beautiful stride. I can’t wait to stretch her out a little bit.”