February 5, 2023

Finley’sluckycharm returns in Honorable Miss

Finley’sluckycharm wins the Winning Colors Stakes (G3) under jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 27, 2017 (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

Despite constant pressure most of the way, Finley’sluckycharm led for all but the last few strides of the 2017 Honorable Miss H. (G2) at Saratoga, missing by a neck to Paulassilverlining. A 10-time winner in 16 starts, Finley’sluckycharm is back to make amends in Wednesday’s renewal of the Honorable Miss, a $200,000 dash for fillies and mares over six furlongs.

Since her last trip to Saratoga, Finley’sluckycharm captured the Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) but was no factor in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) in her 2017 finale. After a season-opening second in a grass stakes at Fair Grounds, Finley’sluckycharm narrowly prevailed in the Madison (G1) back at Keeneland, but faded to fourth in the stretch of the Humana Distaff (G1) when last seen on Kentucky Derby Day.

“She ran extremely hard at Keeneland winning a Grade 1, and I think that took a toll on her,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “Four weeks later in the Distaff, we caught the inside on a sloppy track. Nothing went our way that day, but at the end of the day, I think she was a little bit empty coming off that race. So, we gave her plenty of time to recover and I think she’s doing well coming into this race.

“She handled the track well last year; that Paulassilverlining sure knows where the wire is. But we’re back trying to hopefully run well enough in the Honorable Miss to hopefully try in the Ballerina (G1).”

Rivals with speed who’ll break to her inside include Vertical Oak, who seems to do best on off tracks, and Chalon, second to Finley’sluckycharm in the Thoroughbred Club of American last fall and a multiple stakes winner this term.

Kirby’s Penny, heroine of the Vagrancy H. (G3) last time over Chalon, and Grade 2 winner Faypien both scratched from Monday’s $200,000 Caress and are well spotted in this heat. The compact field is completed by the allowance-class Between Songs.