(Finite / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From the Fair Grounds Media Team:
British Idiom stepped into the ring as the champ, but in the end, it was Winchell Thoroughbreds and J. R Thomas’ Finite who would score the knockout blow in Saturday’s Rachel Alexandra (G2) presented by Fasig-Tipton at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
Sent off as the 5-2 second choice in the 1 1/16 mile race for 3-year-old fillies, Finite found herself in a clear, stalking position behind the front-running His Glory through honest fractions of 24.20 and 47.92. Inching closer while three-wide on the turn for home, she took command at the top of the stretch and extended her advantage to the finish line, scoring by a 4 ¾ lengths over the 4-5 favorite British Idiom in a final time of 1:43.97 for 1 1/16 miles over a fast track. It was 1 ¾ lengths back to Swiss Skydiver in third (earned ten Oaks points), and a neck to Tempers Rising (earned five Oaks points) in fourth.
Jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. — Finite (1st):
“She was really ready and cranked for today,” jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. said. “I knew turning for home I had a lot of horse under me. She responded right when I asked her and she’s just such a fighter.”
Trainer Steve Asmussen — Finite:
The Rachel Alexandra marked the fifth consecutive victory for the homebred daughter of Munnings, who earned 50 points on the Road to the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1). She now sits atop the leaderboard with 70. There’s seemingly no end to Finite’s winning ways.
“I think that last race (narrow win in the Silverbulletday) put us in this position,” trainer Steve Asmussen said of Saturday’s dominant performance. “This race (the Rachel Alexandra) has obviously been a producer of really nice fillies and I think we have something to work with now. She’s always been a really game filly who has shown a lot of heart.”
Asmussen has now won the Rachel Alexandra five times. Four of those victories have come with Winchell homebreds and two of those, Untapable (2014) and Summerly (2005), would go on to win the Kentucky Oaks.
“We’re hoping this filly can stay sound and keep running well and hopefully follow that same path,” Asmussen said when asked about a potential run for Finite in the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) on March 21.
Jockey Javier Castellano — British Idiom (2nd):
In what was her first start since winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Santa Anita en route to Eclipse Award honors as Champion Two-Year-Old Filly, British Idiom steadied early, was wide on both turns and finished willingly. She earned 20 Kentucky Oaks points, giving her a total of 50. Regular rider Javier Castellano wasn’t the least bit discouraged.
“I am really happy with how she did it today,” Castellano said. “We were second best but I think she ran a good race. Finite has been running consistently. We’ve been off since Breeders’ Cup so she needed this race. I think next time will be a different story.”