Finnick the Fierce, a Kentucky Derby scratch, returns at Turfway

Finnick the Fierce, a Kentucky Derby scratch, returns at Turfway
Photo: Coady Photography

Finnick the Fierce, the one-eyed gelding who was scratched from last year's Kentucky Derby, will make his first start since the July 11 Blue Grass Stakes (G2) in a restricted allowance race going one mile at Turfway Park on Wednesday. 

Trained and co-owned by Rey Hernandez, Finnick the Fierce has been working steadily since mid-January with his most recent drill a six-furlong gate work completed in 1:12.80 at Turfway Park on Wednesday. 

"He's doing great -- really happy with the way he is training," Hernandez told HRN on Thursday. 

[Related: Turfway Park entries for March 3]

By Dialed In, Finnick the Fierce was scratched the day prior to the Kentucky Derby with a minor foot injury. He returned a month later to be third in a $100,000 optional claimer at Churchill Downs and followed with a seventh-place effort in the Blue Grass. 

Following a few more works, Hernandez said the decision was made to pull the plug and await a 4-year-old season.

"He was running against the best 3-year-olds out there and had a pretty tough campaign," Hernandez said. "So we decided it would be best to give him some time and just regroup. There's no need to rush with him."

Finnick the Fierce -- who has never raced on a synthetic surface -- holds a decided class edge over the six rivals signed up for his comeback, which is restricted to non-winners of three lifetime. Grade 2-placed as a juvenile, Finnick the Fierce last year contested the Lecomte (G3), Risen Star (G2) and was third in the Arkansas Derby (G1) prior to a seventh-place finish in the Blue Grass. He will be ridden for the first time on Wednesday by Rafael Bejarano, who was also aboard for Wednesday's drill.

"I breezed him yesterday and he did it really easy. I think he likes [the synthetic]; it’s not going to be a problem at all,” Hernandez said. “Hopefully, he’s going to win this allowance and go on to bigger things. He still has the condition and I wanted to make it a little easier on him than to come back in a graded stakes.”

Hernandez said the $150,000 Kentucky Cup Classic on March 27 at Turfway Park would likely be next for Finnick the Fierce.

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