My first reaction when I heard that So Many Ways, one of the leading candidates for the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, would not be running in the year-end championships, was one of disappointment. The news, which came in via a press release from owner, Maggi Moss, not only deprives the most important race for two-year-old fillies of one of its biggest stars, but it also leaves the unbeaten, Tony Dutrow filly off the likely list of Eclipse Award winners. But then as I read through the words of Moss, my disappointment transformed into more of a ‘good for her’ attitude. Clearly this was a decision not taken lightly by the successful owner.
“I have struggled with the decision of whether or not we should push her as she continues to grow and mature for the thrill of running in the Breeders’ Cup,” said Moss. “After great deliberation, I have weighed what is in her best interest, versus my chance to compete at Santa Anita and decided it is simply pushing her too hard.”
Now, I am not one of those, “horses should never run at two” people, but I do believe in always doing right by your horse, and it would seem that is precisely what Moss is doing despite the lure of having one of the horses to beat at the Breeders’ Cup. Make no mistake, that is exactly what Moss and Dutrow have in the daughter of freshman sire, Sightseeing.
Undefeated and impressive in three lifetime starts, So Many Ways romped in her debut, winning off by eight lengths in a 4 ½ furlong affair on June 9. Living up to her trainer’s confidence, the filly went straight from that maiden race at Parx, to a graded stakes winner at the best meeting in America, snaring the Schuylerville Stakes at Saratoga in her second start. The victory was predicted by Dutrow, and sent her into the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes as a solid second choice. Facing the hugely hyped filly, Teen Pauline, So Many Ways rolled right on by her in stretch to win going away by 2 ½ lengths. The grade 1 victory raised her bankroll to $307,800.
Other than the other coast’s Executiveprivilege, clearly no juvenile filly in the nation has accomplished as much as the Maggi Moss filly. Moss, who became the first woman in the country since 1945 to lead the nation in wins, and is active in rescue and aftercare efforts for retired racehorses, could have easily pushed her star to a trip across country and her first try around two-turns for the Breeders’ Cup, but she believes that is not the best thing for the horse. Ego of the connections be damned ... do what is best for the horse ... a most novel approach.
“I think we are doing the right thing for the filly,” said Moss. “She’s already given me the thrill of a lifetime and I look forward to what I hope is a great three-year-old campaign with her next year.”
So when some of the best juvenile fillies in the nation are battling it out in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and most likely an Eclipse Award, So Many Ways will be getting some R&R at Anthony Dutrow’s barn at Fair Hills Training Center, and will join her trainer at Palm Meadows Training Center this winter, where she will resume training for a possible next start at the Gulfstream Park winter meet.
Over my initial disappointment, I an left with only admiration for Maggi Moss. In this time when so often horse racing is business first, and horse or sport second, I applaud Moss for not only standing by her principles, but also her filly.