08/29/2002 11:00PM

Awesome Humor is Spinaway runaway

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SARATOGA, N.Y. - Duplicating her performance 18 days earlier in the Adirondack Stakes, Awesome Humor shook off a pair of early challenges before pulling away to a victory over 2-1 favorite Forever Partners in Friday's $200,000 Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga.

Breaking from post 1 in a full field of 12 2-year-old fillies, Awesome Humor contested the early pace from along the rail with Hope for Love and Forever Partners. She briefly relinquished the advantage around the turn, regained the lead once jockey Pat Day set her down into the stretch, and easily moved away from Forever Partners in the final sixteenth to win by 2 3/4 lengths.

Midnight Cry rallied belatedly to finish third, a length behind Forever Partners. Stellar, who was a late-striding second in the Adirondack, raced in perfect position behind the embattled leaders, but again failed to change leads through the stretch and struggled home fourth.

Despite coming into the Spinaway undefeated in three starts, Awesome Humor went off as the third choice and paid $8.40. She covered seven furlongs in 1:24.36 seconds over a track upgraded to good from muddy.

"I've watched Pat ride a lot of races and I have a pretty good feel for how much horse he's got under him, and it sure looked like he was sitting comfortably on her and she was moving easily," said trainer Elliott Walden who took over the training of Awesome Humor after she was purchased privately by WinStar Farm following her second start. "I'm very confident with her running style. She relaxes so much and kicks when she needs, which leads me to believe she'll carry her speed further."

Walden said Awesome Humor will likely go next in Keeneland's Alcibiades Stakes on Oct. 4.

"She's a real professional," said Day. "She came away running and dropped back to second or third on the turn, but I felt comfortable at that point I could wait until coming off the turn before letting her run."