A four-time stakes winner at 2 and 3 for owners Winchell Thoroughbreds, Thomas Reiman, William Dickson, and Deborah Easter, Finite seemed a filly destined for a stakes at Churchill Downs. It’s just happening against older mares in the $100,000 Chilukki Stakes (G3) Nov. 21 rather than the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1).
For a while last fall and early this spring, during which Finite had a five-race win streak, it seemed the Oaks, the country’s most prestigious race for 3-year-old fillies, could be in her future. But a defeat in the March 21 Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), followed by a minor physical setback, derailed those plans and left her too far behind schedule to adequately prepare for the Oaks, which was postponed to Sept. 4 because of COVID-19.
After struggling in her return on a wet turf course when 11th in the Sept. 15 Music City Stakes at Kentucky Downs, the daughter of Munnings rebounded with a competitive try when second, beaten a neck, by Venetian Harbor in the Lexus Raven Run Stakes (G2) at Keeneland Oct. 17.
“When you go into a race like that against quality competition after, to put it mildly, a subpar race at Kentucky Downs, you’re a little on edge about who is going to show up for the Raven Run—the Finite from the January and February or the Finite from Kentucky Downs?” said David Fiske, the farm and racing manager for Winchell Thoroughbreds. “So we were extremely happy that she showed us who she is. That makes you confident going forward.”
Last year she went 2-for-2 at Churchill, taking the Rags to Riches Stakes and Golden Rod Stakes (G2). Then at 3, she took the Silverbulletday Stakes and Rachel Alexandra Stakes Presented by Fasig-Tipton (G2)—efforts at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots that made the Steve Asmussen trainee the qualifying points leader for a time leading up to the Oaks.
Ricardo Santana Jr., her rider in eight of 10 starts, returns in the irons.
Grand Cru Classe, another 3-year-old filly, also appears a top contender. Like Finite, she is a winner over a one-turn mile, and she was not far behind Finite when third in the Raven Run, losing by three-quarters of a length.
The Raven Run was the first loss in her career after she racked up a 3-for-3 record by winning a maiden race at Gulfstream Park, an allowance at Belmont Park, and the Weber City Miss Stakes at Laurel Park.
Tyler Gaffalione rides the daughter of Bernardini owned by Speedway Stables and trained by Bill Mott.
Whoa Nellie and Unique Factor head the contingent of older fillies. Whoa Nellie won the Pippin Stakes last winter at Oaklawn Park but is unraced since a runner-up finish in the Bayakoa Stakes (G3) there Feb. 17, and Unique Factor heads into the Chilukki following a runner-up finish in the McConnell Springs Stakes Nov. 6 at Keeneland.
Churchill Downs, Saturday, November 21, 2020, Race 9
- Grade III
- 3 yo’s & up Fillies and Mares
- 5:06 PM (local)