by Jeremy Plonk
November 23, 2020
Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.
October Nov. 16-22, 2020
Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds, Thomas Reiman, William Dickson and Deborah Easter
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.
Performance: The 6-5 favorite delivered in her first attempt vs. older fillies and mares, besting the Grade 3 $100,000 Chilukki Stakes on Nov. 21 at Churchill Downs. Settling towards the rear early in the 1-turn mile, the Munnings filly made a wide, winning move on the far turn and strode clear late by 2-1/2 lengths. Finite improved her record to 3-for-3 at Churchill Downs, winning last year’s listed Rags to Riches and Grade 2 Golden Rod as a juvenile. Earlier this year, she won the listed Silverbulletday and Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds.
On Tap: You’d expect Finite back in New Orleans this winter where she had much success in 2020, but there’s very little on the stakes schedule at FG for older fillies/mares on the dirt. She’ll have more options at Oaklawn, where races like the Jan. 23 Pippin and Jan. 30 American Beauty pop up first (going long and short, respectively). The region’s premier distaff division series is at OP: the Grade 3 Bayakoa is Feb. 15; the Grade 2 Azeri on March 13; and the Grade 1 Apple Blossom on April 17.
Honorable Mentions: 2019 Native Diver runner-up Extra Hope did himself one better in the Nov. 21 renewal of Del Mar’s Grade 3 event, exacting revenge on defending champion Midcourt. Ride a Comet improved to 2-for-2 after a 2-year layoff when posting the minor upset Nov. 21 in the Grade 2 Kennedy Road at Woodbine. The Mark Casse trainee knocked off a cast that included Canadian sprint legend Pink Lloyd, who settled for third. Thisismytime took advantage of the off-the-turf conditions of the Nov. 22 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Preview Stakes, smoking her foes by 11-3/4 lengths. The Carpe Diem filly earned her first stakes win for trainer Kathleen O’Connell. Finally, odds-on favorite Piedi Bianchi blitzed 11 rivals Nov. 18 at Indiana Grand in a 7-1/2 length romp in the France Slocum Stakes. The Indiana-bred had won Aqueduct’s Correction and was third in the Grade 2 Ruffian at Belmont earlier this year.