With seven 3-year-old fillies contending in mid-stretch, Maggi Moss' So Many Ways proved best late to win the $177,150 Eight Belles Stakes presented by Xerox (gr. III) May 3 at Churchill Downs by a half-length over Fusaichiswonderful (VIDEO).
With the win at 7-1 odds, So Many Ways showed the top form of her 2-year-old season when the Sightseeing filly won the Schulylerville (gr. III) and Spinaway (gr. I) stakes last summer at Saratoga Race Course.
Running for trainer Tom Amoss for the first time, So Many Ways entered the seven-furlong race off a fifth-place finish in the 1 1/16-mile Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) March 30, her first career try at two turns, after placing third in the Primal Force Stakes March 10 at Gulfstream Park.
With Garrett Gomez aboard, So May Ways circled six horses coming into the stretch and gradually wore down Fusaichiswonderful approaching the wire to score a narrow triumph.
"We knew the style she likes to run, which is to come from off the pace and come around horses," Amoss said. "(Gomez) was trapped for a long time. When he got outside, she did some running. It worked to our advantage and turned out well."
Amoss made a point of crediting Tony Dutrow, who trained So Many Ways through the Fair Grounds Oaks.
So Many Ways paid $17.40, $7.80, and $5.80. Aquino Stable's Fusaichiswonderful, a multiple stakes winner in Puerto Rico who entered off a stakes score at Gulfstream Park, returned $6 and $5. It was another half-length back to Donarra Thoroughbreds' Irish Lute, who returned $12.40 as a 35-1 shot.
So Many Ways was timed in 1:22.84 for the seven furlongs on a fast track. She picked up her third stakes win and fourth victory overall in five starts, improving her earnings to $424,348.
"Tom asked me to get her outside and I did," said Gomez, who was aboard the filly for the first time. "Then I asked her and she gave it to me. She's a little bit of a filly but she's got a big heart."
Donald Dizney's Calistoga, favored at 2-1, entered off of wins in her first two career starts at Gulfstream Park this season but her wide rally flattened and she settled for fourth.
Bred in Pennsylvania by John C. Penn and John R. Penn, So Many Ways is out of the Dehere mare Happy Scene. James Schenk purchased So Many Ways for Moss for $22,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Eastern fall yearling sale.