So Many Ways and Kauai Katie have never raced against each other, but will forever be linked based on the fact that they were both 2-for-2 and won all of the graded stakes for 2-year-old fillies on the Saratoga Race Course main track in 2012.
So Many Ways went first, winning the Schuylerville, then Kauai Katie took her turn in the Adirondack. With the ball back in her court, So Many Ways aced the Grade I Spinaway on closing weekend.
They’ll finally get a chance to square off today, in the Grade I Prioress at six furlongs, each having settled into a role as one of the best 3-year-old filly sprinters in the country.
Trained by Todd Pletcher for Stonestreet Stables, Kauai Katie is the even-money morning-line favorite, followed by So Many Ways at 3-1 making her third start since being officially transferred from trainer Tony Dutrow to Tom Amoss for owner Maggi Moss.
The fillies actually were at the track on the same race card, as Kauai Katie broke her maiden by 12 lengths the same day that So Many Ways, who had broken her maiden by eight at Parx, won the Schuylerville.
Now, they’ll finally be in the same race, and it appears that the field will be chasing Kauai Katie early. The big question is whether she’ll come back to them.
“I’m concerned about Todd’s filly in the sense that she’s cutting back in distance,” Amoss said. “It’s a distance she’s been highly successful at. I’m concerned that I don’t see a lot of other speed in the race. There may be one other horse, the horse from Calder [Wildcat Lily]. And I want her to have some company. So Many Ways’ best race is going to be one that sets up for her. She’s not this deep closer like Mylute is, but at the same time, a fast pace up front helps her chances. If Todd gets alone on the lead, I think we’re all in big trouble.”
It’s a big day for Amoss, who also has Mylute as the second choice in the Jim Dandy behind Kauai Katie’s stablemate, Palace Malice.
Because Amoss has a base in Louisiana, Dutrow sent So Many Ways to his barn in March to get ready to run in the Fair Grounds Oaks, after which Amoss became her trainer and brought her to Kentucky.
The Fair Grounds Oaks was So Many Ways’ first attempt beyond seven furlongs, and she finished fifth to Unlimited Budget.
After winning the seven-furlong Grade III Eight Belles on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs, they tried a mile and a sixteenth again in the Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows.
A third to Fiftyshadesofhay convinced the connections to stick with sprints.
“Let’s remember, Prairie Meadows is Maggi’s home track; she’s from Des Moines,” Amoss said. “We really wanted to give her one more attempt at a two-turn race before making a final decision whether it was something she can or can’t do. That experiment is over. We don’t think she’s a two-turn horse, and we’ll be sticking to the one-turn distances.”
Amoss said So Many Ways, who enjoys sticking her head around the corner of her stall at the end of barn 9 to watch the activity on the backstretch, has been training over the main track better than any of the nine horses he has at Saratoga.
She’ll get her fifth different rider in the last five races, but it’s Joel Rosario, the leading rider in the country.
“The only real instruction to Joel will be, ‘Look, this filly likes to come around as opposed to being on the inside,’ but after that, it’s his to ride, he can do what he wants,” Amoss said.
Like So Many Ways, Kauai Katie is 0-for-2 beyond seven furlongs, most recently a third in the one-mile Acorn to Midnight Lucky, who was scheduled to run in the Prioress but was pulled from consideration this week.
She’s won all six of her races at seven furlongs or less by a combined a combined 39 lengths.
“She’s good at six; I think she handles seven very well, also,” Pletcher said.