The very consistent Finley'sluckycharm needed some of that luck to win Saturday's Grade 1 Madison Stakes at Keeneland, just nosing out four rivals in a photo finish at the wire to stay undefeated in the state of Kentucky. Carl R. Moore's 5-year-old daughter of Twirling Candy scored her first top-level victory at odds of 5-1, defeating 7-1 Miss Sunset and 3-1 favorite Lewis Bay. Ridden by Brian Hernandez for Bret Calhoun, Finley'sluckycharm completed seven furlongs in 1:22.82 over the fast main track.
“She's a naturally fast filly,” Hernandez said. “Her last couple of races, she didn't get away (from the gate) very smoothly so today that was our game plan: Get her away from there running. She's one of the special fillies – the faster she goes, she just kind of runs horses off their feet and that's what she did today.
“You have to be really proud of this filly. We've said all along she deserves a Grade 1 (win). She dug in today – she was never going to let that eight horse (Miss Sunset) by her. At the wire I thought we won, but I was a little worried. It was really close, but she was there for us. She was gutsy the whole way.”
Hernandez had to hustle Finley'sluckycharm out of the gate, pushing her to keep pace with American Gal through a quick first quarter in :21.96. American Gal pulled away to a one-length lead, with Finley'sluckycharm shadowing her patiently while Miss Sunset and Tequilita tracked together from third.
Finley'sluckycharm started to close the gap on American Gal around the turn, and the two turned for home on even terms. Finley'sluckycharm pulled away to lead by a neck, but was threatened in the final sixteenth by the trio of Miss Sunset, Lewis Bay, and a re-rallying American Gal. The photo finish was close at the wire, but Finley'sluckycharm held on to win by a nose. Miss Sunset defeated Lewis Bay for second, and American Gal had to settle for fourth.
Bred in Kentucky by Lakland Farm, Finley'sluckycharm was a $77,000 Keeneland September yearling sale purchase. She won her first two starts, and after a break she continued to be extremely consistent, even finishing second by a half-length in the G1 La Brea in 2016. The Madison was her first G1 win, improving her overall record to 10 wins and three seconds from 15 starts, with earnings of just under $800,000.
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