Trainer Bret Calhoun said Carl R. Moore's Finley'sluckycharm came out of her 2 1/4-length win over Vertical Oak in the Grade 2, $200,000 Honorable Miss on Wednesday in good order and remains on target for the Grade 1, $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina on Travers Day, August 25.
“We're very happy with how she bounced out of the race,” Calhoun said Thursday morning. “It was the kind of race we wanted. There was a nice trip for her. I think it will allow her to point for the Ballerina.”
Finley'sluckycharm tracked the speed in the six-furlong sprint on Saratoga Race Course's main track before overtaking Vertical Oak from the outside in the stretch. After finishing a neck behind Paulassilverlining in last year's edition of the Honorable Miss, the 5-year-old Twirling Candy mare bested a five-horse field for her second graded stakes win in three starts.
“Paulassilverlining is a great filly and it looked like we had her put away in deep stretch but she came back and got us on the wire, so we had victory ripped out of our hands, so to come back this year and win it was great,” Calhoun said.
The Ballerina is a Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In” qualifier to the Grade 1, $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint on November 3 at Churchill Downs, offering Finley'sluckycharm a chance to atone for last year's ninth-place performance in that race at Del Mar. The seven-furlong Ballerina is the same distance as the Grade 1 Madison on April 7 at Keeneland in which Finley'sluckycharm outkicked Miss Sunset by a neck.
“You look at her record, [and] the Madison is a convincing race,” Calhoun said. “There were eight graded stakes winners in there. She ran basically gate-to-wire with wide-open, suicide-type fractions and held them off. That was a race of champions there. That race in turn ended up costing us in the next race [fourth in the Grade 1] in the Humana Distaff [on May 5]. You saw the spacing between those races and this one two months forward. She was a fresh horse and put weight back on. She looked magnificent. Everything went right.”
Calhoun said keeping her at Saratoga can be beneficial since she's run well at the historic course.
“She's run twice at this track and obviously likes it,” Calhoun said. “Some horses have an affinity for this track and luckily she's one who likes it. I don't know where the challengers will come from, but it'll be a great race. The fact that she's had two starts here and run well both times gives you confidence.”
Classy Act is still planning to run in the Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Test for 3-year-old fillies, Calhoun said. The Into Mischief filly returned to the worktab on July 21 at Saratoga, breezing four furlongs in 52.78 seconds on the Oklahoma training track.
Classy Act is coming off a runner-up effort in the Grade 3 Victory Ride, where she was edged by 47-1 longshot Dixie Serenade by a neck on July 8 at Belmont Park.
“It was a tough beat in the Victory Ride, it looked like she was the best horse. She didn't see the horse up the rail and got nailed, but she's another one who shipped straight from Belmont up here and has been settling in. She'll breeze Saturday and then run in the Test. She proved she fits with this group in the Victory Ride.”
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