Rags to Riches winner Finite swept Churchill Downs’ Fall Meet stakes series for 2-year-old fillies when she took the lead off the turn and repelled a fierce challenge by Motu in deep stretch to win Saturday’s 76th running of the $300,000 Golden Rod (Grade II) at Churchill Downs by three-quarters of a length.
Finite, who ran 1 1/16 miles over a “sloppy” track in 1:45.99 as the odds-on 4-5 favorite in the field of eight, collected the $180,420 first prize and 10 points as part of the 30-race “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” series, which offers points on a scale of 10-4-2-1 to the Top 4 finishers as a “Prep Season” race.
Ricardo Santana Jr. rode the winner for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen and the ownership group of Ron Winchell’s Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC, Thomas J. Reiman, William Dickson and Deborah A. Easter.
“It was pretty cool that before the Golden Rod the replay of Untapable’s Kentucky Oaks win was playing on the Big Board,” Asmussen said. “Hopefully, that is a sign of things to come.”
Hawthorne-invader Bean broke fastest of all and rattled off early quarter-mile splits of :23.93 and :48.53 with Lady Glamour rated on the outside in second and Finite composed along the rail in third down the backstretch. As the field entered the far turn, Santana swung Finite to the outside with a three-wide move. Lady Glamour briefly poked her head in front after three-quarters of a mile in 1:14.20 but Finite quickly grabbed the lead as the field reached the top of the stretch. Motu, who had two horses beat early on, rallied from the outside to get within reach of Finite’s right hip with a quarter of a mile to run but the winner dug deep and fended off her rival’s determined challenge.
“She’s a super nice filly,” Santana said. “The credit goes to Steve and his team because they have been working hard with this filly to get her to relax in the morning. She settled very nicely behind horses and was not going to let anyone get by her today.”
Prior to the Golden Rod, Finite won the $122,097 Rags to Riches Overnight Stakes by six lengths on Oct. 27 – opening day of Churchill Downs’ Fall Meet.
Lady Glamour was another 6 ½ lengths back in third and was followed by She Can’t Sing, Turtle Trax, His Glory, Bean and Ivyetsu.
Finite improved her record to 5-3-2-0—$368,349 and paid $3.60, $2.60 and $2.40. Motu, ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., paid $8.20 and $5.20. Lady Glamour, under Julie Burke, returned $6.20 to show.
Finite, a daughter of Munnings out of the Tapit mare Remit, was bred in Kentucky by co-owner Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC.