Sunday’s $300,000 Waya S. (G3) underwent several changes between 2020 and 2021, shifting from August to October, from Saratoga to Belmont Park, and from 1 1/2 miles to 1 3/8 miles. But one thing stayed consistent: My Sister Nat as the winner of the turf prize for fillies and mares.
The six-year-old daughter of Acclamation was favored at 1-2 to give trainer Chad Brown a fifth victory in the Waya, and she didn’t disappoint. After rating patiently in sixth place behind pedestrian fractions of :25.63, :52.01, and 1:17.52, My Sister Nat unleashed a powerful burst of acceleration under jockey Jose Ortiz. Storming past the leaders with authority, My Sister Nat powered away to win by 2 1/2 lengths over stablemate Orglandes, scoring her second consecutive Waya victory.
“In this kind of race they usually go slow,” Jose Ortiz told the New York Racing Association. “It felt like they went 50 or 51, but I was following who I thought was the right horse, and around the three-eighths pole I put her in the clear, and she gave me such a great feeling. She just was handling the course really well. She gave me a great kick from the three-eighths pole to the wire, and she kept running.”
My Sister Nat reached the finish line in 2:15.37 over a firm turf course. The pacesetting Always Shopping held on for third place, followed by Sister Otoole, Beautiful Lover, Call Me Love, and Lovely Lucky.
Owned by Peter M. Brant, My Sister Nat has placed twice against Grade 1 company and competed in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), finishing ninth. Winning the Waya opens the door for My Sister Nat to take another tilt at the Breeders’ Cup, which will take place at Del Mar from Nov. 5-6.
Earlier in the afternoon, Annapolis delivered a gutsy effort to win the Pilgrim S. (G2) for two-year-olds. Fresh off a blowout debut victory racing 1 1/16 miles over the Saratoga turf, Annapolis reiterated his affinity for these conditions with a determined performance at Belmont.
After pressing the graded stakes-placed Portfolio Company through fractions of :24.34, :48.96, and 1:12.22, Annapolis forged to a narrow lead in the homestretch. Portfolio Company tried to fight back, but Annapolis refused to yield, battling on under jockey Irad Ortiz to score by a head in a quick 1:41.04 for 1 1/16 miles.
“With only four horses, there wasn’t much speed in the race,” Irad Ortiz said. “I just broke well and tried to be close to the pace. I ended up second to the horse I had to try and beat, so I just went from there. He fought the whole way to the wire. The way he did it last time he looked like a nice horse, so we expected him to move forward and he did.”
Limited Liability and Doctor Jeff completed the order of finish, though both lost ground as Annapolis and Portfolio Company accelerated the final five-sixteenths of a mile in a rapid :28.82. The winner is now undefeated in two starts for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher, with a trip to Del Mar for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) potentially on the horizon.