A field of six juvenile fillies will seek Grade 1 black type in Sunday's 129th running of the Grade 1, $250,000 Spinaway Stakes going seven furlongs over the main track at Saratoga on Sunday, September 6.
The historic event, which is the first Grade 1 event for 2-year-old fillies on the East Coast, has been won by Eclipse Award winning debutantes Before Dawn (1981), Family Style (1985), Meadow Star (1990), Flanders (1994), Golden Attraction (1995) and Countess Diana (1997).
In its earlier years, the Spinaway was won by all-time great fillies Miss Woodford (1883), Maskette (1908), Top Flight (1930), Affectionately (1962), Numbered Account (1971), La Prevoyante (1972) and Ruffian (1974).
|Robert Reid, Jr.
||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Trainer Tim Hamm shipped Dayoutoftheoffice for a victory in the Grade 3 Schuylerville on Opening Day at the Spa and will invade for another stakes engagement for juvenile fillies with Esplanande, who is unbeaten in three starts all against Ohio-breds.
Owned and bred by Hamm's Blazing Meadows Farm and WinStar Farm, the dark bay daughter of Daredevil won her debut by 6 ¼ lengths at Belterra Park in Cincinnati, Ohio before defeating Buckeye State native colts in the Hoover on July 3 at Belterra and the Cleveland Kindergarten on August 8 at Thistledown.
"This horse has dominated state bred competition. She's beaten the boys in Ohio, but she'll get a test this time, and we'll see how she handles the step up in competition," Hamm said. "She's done nothing wrong and her Beyer and Thoro-Graph numbers put her to where she deserves a chance."
Because he knows how tough it can be to win at Saratoga, Hamm doesn't bring just any horse to the Spa and said that a horse has to prove themselves worthy of the engagement.
"They have to show that they have some class and can handle themselves under some stress," Hamm said. "They got to go out there and perform. If they're on their 'A' game, you feel like you have a shot. The horses we're bringing up there have shown that."
Esplanande will stretch out to seven furlongs for the first time, with her longest race taking place last out at six furlongs.
"It looks like she'll carry her speed seven eighths and I'm not convinced she can't get a mile. She's been a classy filly," Hamm said.
Hamm boasts three graded stakes victories on his resume, but a Spinaway triumph would give him his first at the Grade 1 level.
"It would be outstanding especially with a homebred filly like that," Hamm said. "I'm still looking for that first Grade 1. It would be super. We have the mare and Daredevil is a WinStar stallion so it would mean a whole lot to the whole operation."
Hamm conditions numerous horses for WinStar, including dual stakes winner Alexandria, who also is unbeaten in three starts.
"We have a great relationship with WinStar," Hamm said. "We have about 20 yearlings which will be 2-year-olds next year with WinStar, and we have about a dozen in training. The relationship started about 10 years ago and it's grown each year. We breed together and we do some training together on certain horses."
Jockey Junior Alvarado, who piloted Dayoutoftheoffice to victory in the Schuylerville for Hamm, has the mount from post 4.
Trainer Mark Casse will attempt a third triumph in the Spinaway with Beautiful Memories.
A John C Oxley Kentucky homebred, the chestnut daughter of Hard Spun was an emphatic 10-length runaway winner of her debut on May 28 at Churchill Downs before being pulled up in the last out Grade 3 Schuylerville on July 16.
In her first work since being eased, Beautiful Memories drilled through a bullet half-mile in 46.20 seconds on August 5 over the Saratoga main track. She has continued to train forwardly and worked a half-mile in 49.40 on August 28.
Beautiful Memories is out of the stakes-placed Sky Mesa mare Sky Dreamer, who is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Dream Dancing. Her fourth dam is 1999 Champion Older Female Beautiful Pleasure, who was a six-time Grade 1-winner.
Jockey Jose Ortiz was aboard for both of her two starts and will be back aboard from post 5.
Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen earned his first Grade 1 at the Spa when Cashier's Dream strolled home to a six-length triumph in the 2001 Spinaway. This year, he will send out Phoenix Thoroughbreds' Lady Lilly.
The bay daughter of freshman sire and 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist was a narrow winner on debut going six furlongs over the main track on August 2 at Saratoga.
Bred in Kentucky by Mueller Thoroughbred Stable, Lady Lilly is the fourth progeny out of the Pulpit mare Miss Inclined, whose previous three offspring are all winners. She was bought for $280,000 at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, where she was consigned by Elm Tree Farm.
Jockey Joel Rosario will have the return engagement as he seeks an 11th stakes victory this meet from post 3.
Rounding out the field are Irish Constitution [post 1, Dylan Davis], Vequist [post 2, Luis Saez], and Guana Cay [post 6, Irad Ortiz, Jr].
The Spinaway is slated as Race 9 on Sunday's 12-race program, which offers a first post of 12:45 p.m. Eastern.
The prestigious race is named in honor of George Lorillard's talented chestnut who won seven of her nine starts, including stakes wins at the defunct Jerome Park and Sheepshead Bay Park. Successful in her career as a broodmare, Spinaway was the granddam of Tanya, who won her grandmother's namesake race in 1904 before defeating colts in the Belmont Stakes the following year. Other prominent descendants of Spinaway include multiple champion producing stallion Giant's Causeway, prolific broodmare Hasili and European Champion Gleneagles.
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