Finnick The Fierce Retires From Racing, Could Point To 2022 Makeover With New Owner

Finnick The Fierce, the one-eyed chestnut gelding who captured many fans’ imaginations ahead of last year’s Kentucky Derby, has retired from racing and found a new home.

Jackie Barr, a long time fan of Finnick The Fierce, is the fan favorite’s new owner and will be guiding his transition from the racing life to his next life.

“I followed his racing up until he was supposed to be in the Derby,” she said. “You just root for him, being an underdog. He’s such a handsome horse.”

Finnick The Fierce had taken an extended break after being a late scratch out of the 2020 Kentucky Derby, returning to the races with an allowance win at Turfway Park in March of this year. Since then, however, Barr said his connections noticed he wasn’t really competitive at the same levels he had been before, finishing third in his last outing at an allowance at Mountaineer Park. Although he was sound, co-owners Dr. Arnaldo Monge and trainer Rey Hernandez agreed it was best to let the horse find a new job. Monge’s wife, Thena, knew Barr and learned she had been casually looking for her own horse.

Barr has previously ridden hunter/jumpers and fell in love with dressage while working at Hilltop Farm in Maryland. She also worked for Millennium Farms, and has recently been trying to figure out whether her time there overlapped with time Finnick may have been on the property as a weanling. Barr keeps track of several of her favorite Thoroughbreds from her time at Millennium and was excited to hear from Thena Monge at just the right time.

Finnick arrived at his new home at BTE Stables in Paris, Ky., earlier this week and will get some letdown time before Barr decides what his next move is. Her tentative goal for now is the 2022 Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover, contingent on his progress and their admittance to the competition. Barr said that for now, all doors are open to them. She is inclined to point for dressage and/or competitive trail with Finnick, but is happy to take him in whatever direction he expresses interest in, even if that includes hunters or eventing.

“I don’t want to push him too hard on anything; I’ll just take it real easy and see how he likes being a sport horse,” she said. “We’ll go from there. If he’s enjoying it we’ll keep going, and if he doesn’t seem to, maybe he’ll be a trail horse, who knows.”

Barr watches Finnick in the field. Photo courtesy Erin O’Keefe

Finnick’s right eye was removed when he was young due to a rare congenital cataract in the eye. Barr said that he doesn’t seem to have any residual anxiety due to his limited vision, romping and playing around his new paddock comfortably.

“It really is amazing,” she said. “I’ve met a couple horses that only had one eye and were spooky on that one side [where the eye was missing]. When I first met him, we were all standing on that side and he didn’t mind us being there. He would turn his head so he could see people but he had no problem with it at all. He gallops with his head tilted a little bit, I think so he has a greater range of vision, but other than that you’d have no idea.”

Whatever comes, Barr said she’s just happy to be a part of the story she had followed so closely as a fan.

“It’s been really great — I’ve just posted on social media in the past hour or so and there are so many people who remember him,” she said. “It’s so cool that he has this built-in fan base. It just shows that you owe it to the horse to make sure he has a good landing and to continue letting him have a good story.”

The post Finnick The Fierce Retires From Racing, Could Point To 2022 Makeover With New Owner appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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