04/02/2009 12:00AM

Finallymadeit has proven form over winter


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - For a horse who has not won a race this season, Finallymadeit has already accomplished more than enough to earn the role of horse to beat in Saturday's $100,000 Skip Away at Gulfstream Park. The Grade 3 Skip Away will be decided at 1 3/16 miles and is the final graded stakes of the meet, which ends on April 23.

Finallymadeit has been both busy and productive this winter. A son of Concerto, he has already made five starts, including second-place finishes in both the Grade 1 Donn Handicap and Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap, the two most important dirt races for older horses at the meet. His performance in the Donn was especially noteworthy, since it came on the heels of a fifth-place finish in the Sunshine Millions Classic just one week earlier. Finallymadeit also found time to try the grass, an experiment that failed when he finished ninth in the 1 3/8-mile Mac Diarmida.

Finallymadeit turned in a game performance in the one-mile Gulfstream Park Handicap, contesting a fast pace before succumbing to Smooth Air through the stretch.

"If it wasn't for that second quarter-mile, which went a little too fast, he could have won that last race," said Javier Negrete, who trains Finallymadeit. "He's doing well, and it looks like we have a pretty good chance to finally win one on Saturday."

As usual, Eduardo Nunez will be aboard Finallymadeit, who will carry co-highweight of 122 pounds under the allowance conditions of the Skip Away.

Four of Finallymadeit's six rivals on Saturday - Fierce Wind, Tomcito, Nistle's Crunch, and Cool Gator - met here a year ago in the Grade 1 Florida Derby. Of that group, Fierce Wind and Nistle's Crunch have accomplished the most since then

Fierce Wind has not lost since finishing 10th in the 2008 Florida Derby and has captured 5 of his last 6 starts dating back to his maiden win at Calder in his 2-year-old finale. He was transferred to trainer William Phipps for his 4-year-old campaign and thus far is perfect on the season, having won a pair of two turn races at Tampa Bay Downs, including the Challenger Stakes on March 7.

Nistle's Crunch has also won two in a row, including a victory over It's Never to Late in a match race that developed when racing was taken off the turf here on March 21.