Finley’sluckycharm readies for emotional final run in Breeders’ Cup

October 18, 2018 03:14pm

Trainer Bret Calhoun said it’s never easy leading a horse over for a big race one day, then shuttling it out of the barn and off to the sales ring the next. But he’ll be tasked with that Breeders’ Cup weekend with one of his highest all-time earners, Finley’sluckycharm.

The daughter of Twirling Candy — five times a stakes winner for her connections — will make a final start for them Nov. 3 in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.

“Once you get one like this, and she’s healthy and sound, you’d like to continue to run her,” Calhoun said.

But owner Carl Moore isn’t a breeder, and with Finley’sluckycharm wrapping up her 5-year-old season, there are economic realities. The mare will be offered at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale.

“She’ll leave a big void in my stable,” Calhoun said. “…She’s carried the banner for several years for this stable. You don’t replace those kind very easily. It’ll be tough.”

Only the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Chamberlain Bridge and Dubai Majesty, who took the Filly & Mare Sprint that same year, have earned more while in Calhoun’s care.

Finley’sluckycharm will go out at her home track, Churchill Downs, and continued preparations Thursday by breezing five furlongs in 1:00.20 before dawn under regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr.

“She’s been an honest filly that shows up for us,” said Hernandez Jr., citing a win at Saratoga, as well as Finaley’sluckycharm’s Madison Stakes (G1) score back in April.

Last year, the horse prepped for the Breeders’ Cup by winning Keeneland’s Thoroughbred Club of America. This time — as she grows older, Calhoun says spacing races helps — Finley’sluckycharm is training up to the race off a seventh-place finish in the Aug. 25 Ballerina (G1).

“It was a stiff work,” Hernandez Jr. said of Thursday’s drill, which represented the second-fastest time at that distance. “It’s what she needed. She hasn’t run since the race up at Saratoga. We have two more weeks until Breeders’ Cup, so Bret looks like he’ll have her ready to go.”


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