Horse Racing

Brightwork Out to Outshine Ways and Means in Spinaway

Summer stakes for 2-year-olds can often be categorized as a clash of experience and potential.

That will surely be the case Sept. 3 at Saratoga Race Course in the $300,000 Spinaway Stakes (G1) for 2-year-old fillies.

In one corner, there’s WSS Racing’s undefeated Brightwork , whose three wins for trainer John Ortiz include a decisive five-length triumph in the Aug. 6 Adirondack Stakes (G3) earlier in the Spa meet.

“There’s no guessing here. I know how good she is and it’s a matter of how the race unfolds for us,” Ortiz said about Brightwork, a daughter of Outwork  . “We’re excited to be live here for our first grade 1. We’re not just here. We’re here with a chance. We’re super excited to be here and competing with the best. We feel we belong here.”

In the other, there’s Klaravich Stables’ Ways and Means , who debuted for trainer Chad Brown on the same Aug. 6 Saratoga card with the Adirondack and opened eyes with a dazzling, odds-on 12 3/4-length maiden special weight score in 1:10.51 for six furlongs. 

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“She’s a nice one,” Brown said.

In simple terms, the matchup in the seven-furlong Spinaway should be a dandy.

Ortiz said Brightwork was a standout from her early days at the racetrack and lived up to that potential by winning the Debutante Stakes at Ellis Park and a Keeneland maiden special weight test prior to her arrival in New York.

“She’s been mature from day one. She’s showed class. That’s something you can’t train. They just have it,” Ortiz said. “She comes out of each race and workout better and better. I use a monitor to check her heart rate, stride length and it’s been a helpful tool.”

Brightwork was third in the early stages of the Adirondack and pulled away in the final furlong to cover the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.85.

Despite having a stakes win to her credit, Brightwork went off as the fourth choice in the Adirondack wagering at 5-1 and Ortiz was miffed at the buzz in some corners that Ways and Means was the best 2-year-old filly to run on the card.

“I don’t know why people put my filly down. It will feel great to beat one of America’s great trainers on his home track. I’m not afraid of who’s coming to the Spinaway,” Ortiz said. “I am very confident.”

Brightwork, bred by Wynnstay and H. Allen Poindexter out of the Malibu Moon mare Clarendon Fancy, was sold for $95,000 at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Mixed Sale and has already earned $279,051.

Ways and Means, a homebred juvenile daughter of Practical Joke  , was no secret among bettors as she went off as a 3-5 choice in a field of 8, all of whom were making their first start.

Fifth after the opening quarter-mile following some bumping at the start, Ways and Means grabbed the lead at the top of the stretch and waved goodbye to her rivals.

“I love the way she looks,” said Brown, who is searching for his initial Spinaway win. “She’s a big, tall, imposing horse and I am looking forward to stretching her out.”

The field of 10 also includes Becky’s Joker , who won the Schuylerville Stakes (G3) but was seventh in the Adirondack, and Closing Act , who was third in the Schuylerville.

Ways and Means will be one of six debut winners in the field joining Sugar Hi , a six-length winner for trainer Bill Mott on July 16, Miz Sense , Lemorian , Alys Beach , and Wonder Ride .

The Spinaway is part of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Dozen series that will award bonus money to the top three finishers that can be used toward a start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).

Entries: Spinaway S. (G1)

Saratoga Race Course, Sunday, September 03, 2023, Race 9

  • Grade I
  • 7f
  • Dirt
  • $300,000
  • 2 yo Fillies
  • 5:10 PM (local)


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