07/22/2011 4:03PM

Arapahoe Park: Queen Greeley ships in for Columbine Stakes


Trainer Todd Fincher operates one of the winningest stables in New Mexico, so it’s a surprise to learn he has never started a horse in his neighboring homestate of Colorado. But that will change Sunday. Fincher has brought Queen Greeley to Arapahoe Park for the $40,000 Columbine.

The 1 1/16-mile race drew a field of 12 fillies and mares. The gate will include Vannacide, a 10-year-old who has won four runnings of the Columbine.

Queen Greeley should go favored. She comes into the Columbine off a pair of runner-up finishes in stakes won by the dominant Hayley’s Halo. She was second to her in the $40,000 First Lady at Ruidoso Downs in May and then, one start later, finished 1 1/2 lengths behind her nemesis in a quick two-turn stakes at SunRay Park.

“She ran great,” Fincher said of Queen Greeley. “Hayley’s Halo broke the track record that day. We’ve run against her five times and never beat her. We’re missing her [at Arapahoe], but we’re not necessarily ducking her.”

Fincher said that with no New Mexico options for Queen Greeley until the Zia Park meet opens in the fall, the decision was made to head to Colorado.

“She’s doing really good, and I just hate for her to sit on the shelf and rot when she’s doing so good,” he said.

Fincher, a former jockey, was born in Denver. He rode at Arapahoe in 1996.

Vernon Scantling has the mount on Queen Greeley.