Last year So Many Ways was one of the hottest juvenile fillies in the nation. The Sightseeing filly burst onto the scene with a runaway wire job in a 4 ½ furlong maiden test at Parx. A month and a half later, she became a graded stakes winner in just her second race when she came from off the pace to register a 1 ½ length victory in the G3 Schuylerville Stakes. In her third career start, she became a Grade 1 winner when easily dispatching heavily favored Teen Pauline in the G1 Spinaway Stakes. At that point, So Many Ways was poised to enter the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies as one of a handful of undefeated fillies putting it all on the line in hopes of leaving with a championship and an Eclipse Award. That did not happen, though, as owner Maggi Moss made the tough decision to give her star filly a rest rather than pushing her too hard too fast. While the decision came as a disappointment to many, it cannot be faulted because Ms. Moss was simply thinking of what was in her filly’s best interest.
Five and a half months after she became a Grade 1 winner, superstar So Many Ways is set to return to the track and put her record on the line. Her return will not necessarily be a walk in the park, however. Lined up to take her on are multiple graded stakes winner Fusaichiswonderful and stakes winners Vitameta, Candy Coded Kisses, and Crumb. From the rail out, here is the field for the Primal Force Stakes:
1. Carolinaonmymind—(Master Command—Touche de Velours, by Meadowlake) Carolinaonmymind was installed as the second longest shot on the board at odds of 20-1 on the morning line. She finished off the board in her stakes debut two back. Trainer Kathleen O’Connell dropped her back into allowance company last out, and the Master Command filly responded with a win. She takes a huge step up in class and would need to run the race of her life to beat the favorite.
2. Pow Wow Wow—(Indian Charlie—Elusive Bird, by Elusive Quality) Pow Wow Wow finished a good third behind Kauai Katie and My Happy Face last out in the G2 Forward Gal. Though she was well beaten by the winner, I expect for her to move forward. She is a speedy type, and I would not be surprised if Jose Lezcano used that speed to go to the front and dictate the race.
3. Vitameta—(Street Sense—Emery Board, by Grindstone) If you throw out her stakes debut in which she was fractious in the gate, Vitameta is actually quite a consistent filly. Her disastrous last place finish in the G2 Adirondack is her only off the board finish in 5 career starts. She likes to be on or near the lead and will likely challenge Pow Wow Wow for that position.
4. Candy Coded Kisses—(Omega Code—Bewixed, by Thunder Gulch) This filly is a bit of an enigma. Her two career wins came while she was on or very close to the lead, but overall, her style has been all over the place. Despite being a stakes winner, I doubt that she will be a factor here. She lost her last four starts by a combined 79 ¾ lengths, each loss accounting for double digit lengths behind the winner.
5. R Free Roll—(Rockport Harbor—Jewels N Gems, by Acceptable) R Free Roll will not make things easy for Pow Wow Wow and Vitameta on the front end. In three of her five career starts, she has been on the lead. With So Many Ways in the field, this will be a bit of a class test for her.
6. So Many Ways—(Sightseeing—Happy Scene, by Dehere) This bay daughter of the late Sightseeing is obviously the class of the field. In theory, she should have no problem with dispatching this field, but she is coming off a significant layoff. With most of the speed drawn to her inside, she should be able to take up a good stalking position without fear of getting boxed in by traffic. Regular rider Javier Castellano has the call.
7. Crumb—(Graeme Hall—Legendary Hit, by Gold Legend) Crumb has faced many of these fillies before, trading blows from race to race. She will benefit from a heavily contested pace should that be how the race ends up playing out.
8. Fusaichiswonderful—(Fusaichi Pegasus—Cry Baby, by Dance Brightly) This chestnut daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus was a Grade 1 winner in Puerto Rico. Since being transferred to Todd Pletcher’s barn, she has made only one start. Fusaichiswonderful’s US debut came in the G2 Forward Gal Stakes. Under Joel Rosario, Fusaichiswonderful found herself further off the pace than she had ever been and wound up finishing fourth, 8 ¾ lengths behind the heavily favored winner Kauai Katie. With John Velazquez in the irons, I expect a better effort from this filly.
One thing is for certain, there is plenty of speed in this field. Look for Pow Wow Wow, Vitameta, R Free Roll, and Fusaichiswonderful to break on top and go out to contest the lead. Carolinaonmymind, So Many Ways, and Crumb should take up good stalking positions behind the leaders. Candy Coded Kisses is the variable here. She appears to prefer a stalking trip, but she has shown speed in her wins and completely trailed the field in her last start. Regardless of her racing style in the Primal Force, I just don’t see her as a threat to So Many Ways. By the end of the day, So Many Ways should be undefeated in four starts, but this is horse racing, and anything can happen.