Finley’sluckycharm Runs Down Vertical Oak To Capture G2 Honorable Miss

Carl R. Moore’s Finley’sluckycharm ran down Vertical Oak in midstretch and outkicked her rival by 2 ¼ lengths to capture the 27th running of the Grade 2, Honorable Miss Handicap for fillies and mares Wednesday at Saratoga Race Course.

Jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr. ensured the Twirling Candy mare earned a trip to the winner’s circle, staying off Vertical Oak as she went the opening quarter-mile in 22.52 seconds and the half in 45 seconds on a main track labeled good. Out of the turn, Hernandez encouraged Finley’sluckycharm as she straightened for home, and the 5-year-old 123-pound highweight gained ground to the outside of Vertical Oak before overtaking her, completing six furlongs in a final time of 1:09.48.

“That was great after last year being beaten a neck by Paulassilverlining,” Hernandez said. “We all went out to dinner and had our heads down, but this year we get to go to dinner and have a little celebration, so it’ll be fun. We put Vertical Oak away in the lane, but she kept coming back at us. We just needed to make sure our filly kept running through the wire, and she did.”

Finley’sluckycharm won her second graded stakes in three starts, adding to a win by a neck in the Grade 1 Madison on April 7 at Keeneland. After running fourth in the G1 Humana Distaff at seven furlongs on May 5 at Churchill, the Bret Calhoun trainee capitalized on a cutback in distance.

“I thought things went as well as they possibly could. The pace wasn’t super hot, she was able to sit outside, save horse, push the button later and she cruised home,” Calhoun said. “I think that’s the opportunity to bounce back out of a race as good as any. I don’t think it was super strenuous. She ran fast, but at least she wasn’t in a gut-wrenching race.”

Added Hernandez: “She gutted it out and she ran a fast enough time for not running since Derby day at Churchill. She was impressive today.”

Off as the 4-5 favorite, Finley’sluckycharm paid $3.90 on a $2 win bet. She continued to progress to millionaire status, increasing her career earnings to $913,068 despite running on what Calhoun said wasn’t an ideal track surface.

“I was sweating all day, I know there’s a couple of horses in here that really move up in the slop, for us I don’t think it’s her best surface,” Calhoun said. “I think she tolerates it. She runs over it, but I don’t think its her best. I never thought in a million years we’d get to run on a dry fast track.”

Vertical Oak, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, cruised 9 ¼ lengths ahead of Kirby’s Penny for second. The 4-year-old Giant Oak filly, who carried 117 pounds, is 1-1-2 in her last four starts, all against stakes company.

Thirteen Songs, trained by Dallas Stewart, and Faypien, conditioned by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, completed the order of finish. Chalon was scratched.

The post Finley’sluckycharm Runs Down Vertical Oak To Capture G2 Honorable Miss appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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