Ten 3-year-old fillies, including grade I winner So Many Ways and twice grade I-placed My Happy Face, are expected to compete in the $400,000 Charles Town Oaks at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races Sept. 21.
Though not graded, the Oaks, which has two fillies on the alternate list in case of scratches, has produced grade I winners including Book Review, who won the Oaks last year, and champion Groupie Doll, who finished a close second in 2011. The seven-furlong race is the 12th of 13 races on a “Race for the Ribbon” program that includes the $400,000 Researcher Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs.
Maggi Moss’ So Many Ways, a Pennsylvania-bred Sightseeing filly trained by Tom Amoss, was cross-entered in the grade III Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs the same day but has been on the grounds at Charles Town for some paddock schooling. So Many Ways, winner of the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) at 2 and the Eight Belles (gr. III) earlier this year, comes in off two fourth-place finishes in grade I stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
Amoss said he opted for the Charles Town Oaks after So Many Ways worked on the six-furlong surface at the Churchill Downs Training Center. Charles Town has a three-quarter-mile track.
“The money is part of it, but none of it would have come together if she didn’t show us that she could handle the tight turns,” Amoss said. “Just like we did last year with Sum of the Parts, who won at Charles Town, we took (So Many Ways) over to Churchill’s sister track to train. It’s a six-furlong track and she went real good around the tighter turns there.
“It gave us enough confidence that she wouldn’t have any problems handling them.”
Miguel Mena has the call on So Many Ways, who will break from post 7 as the 123-pound highweight.
Michael Dubb’s My Happy Face is the 9-5 morning-line choice off of her strong third-place finish in the Test Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga in her last start. The Kentucky-bred by Tiz Wonderful usually shows early foot but was well off the pace in the Test before her strong rally came up a neck short.
Trainer Chad Brown cross-entered My Happy Face in the grade I Cotillion Stakes at Parx Racing Sept. 21 but indicated to Charles Town officials he plans to race the filly in West Virginia. Brown trained Book Review before the filly was sent to Bob Baffert in California.
“How we fared at the track definitely plays a role in coming back,” Brown said. “Book Review ran well last year and the people at Charles Town made it so easy on us to ship in and ship out that it makes it a lot easier to want to return with a horse like this. We think the two-turn seven furlongs is something she should excel at. We’ll see how the field plays out, but that’s the hope.”
Javier Castellano is named to ride My Happy Face from post 3 at 120 pounds.
$400,000 Charles Town Oaks (Race 12, approximate post 10:30 p.m. EDT), 3YO Fillies, 7 Furlongs (Dirt)
PP., Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer