11/22/2011 12:29PM

Calder: Denomination tries to make up for lost time in My Charmer

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Denomination dominated the Athenia at Belmont Park and looks tough in the $100,000 My Charmer at Calder on Thursday.

MIAMI – The filly and mare turf division was a wide open one this year as evidenced by longshot Perfect Shirl’s victory in the Breeders’ Cup and the lingering uncertainty over who will end up with the Eclipse Award in the category.

One horse who might have had a large say in the division during the second half of the season had she remained healthy is Denomination, who is a three-time Grade 3 winner in 2011 despite having missed the entire summer. Denomination will close out her campaign on Thanksgiving Day at Calder, where she’ll go postward the highweight and heavy favorite in the $100,000 My Charmer Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

Denomination defeated Zagora by a neck in the Grade 3 Hillsborough at Tampa Bay Downs in March, and Zagora went on to capture the Grade 1 Diana this summer at Saratoga. Denomination also won the Grade 3 Violet at Monmouth Park and recently returned from a 4 1/2-month layoff to dominate the Grade 3 Athenia over a yielding course at Belmont Park.

“She’s a nice filly who beat some very good horses this year,” said Christophe Clement, who trains Denomination for owner Ghislaine Head. “Unfortunately she came back sore after the race at Monmouth Park and I had to give her time off, and that forced her to miss some of the better races up north this summer.”

Denomination will carry 123 pounds, conceding from four to nine pounds to her seven rivals, in the My Charmer, which is likely to be decided over a less-than-firm course.

“She’s training as well as ever since getting to Payson Park and a soft turf shouldn’t be any problem,” said Clement. “Everything is right except they are trying to kill her with the weight. She carried the same 123 pounds in the Athenia, but that race was run under allowance conditions and most of the others carried the same weight that day. This is a handicap and we have to give weight to some very nice horses.”

Joe Bravo, who was aboard Denomination for her wins in the Violet and Athenia, will have the mount again on Thursday.

Denomination figures to receive her stiffest competition from Oregon Lady, Snow Top Mountain, and the locally based Trip for A.J.

Oregon Lady has been injured on occasion in 2011 but exits the best performance of her career, a 4 1/4-length victory in Woodbine’s River Memories Stakes over soft ground on Oct. 29.

Snow Top Mountain, who has been close numerous times against graded stakes company, finally got her elusive first stakes win when she rallied to a three-quarter-length decision in the Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 10. Trainer Tom Proctor will put blinkers on Snow Top Mountain for the My Charmer.

Trip for A.J. is the most versatile of the leading contenders in the My Charmer, having won five races on dirt and five over turf. She has not started on grass since finishing second behind the odds-on Romacaca in an overnight stakes here on May 21.

Grecian Maiden, Callmethesqueeze, Tesoro de Amor, and Performing complete the lineup.