05/27/2017 6:23PM

Finley'sluckycharm makes Winning Colors her first graded stakes win

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Finley'sluckycharm wins the Winning Colors by 5 1/2 lengths on Saturday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Everything went to plan for Carl Moore and Bret Calhoun when the Grade 3, $100,000 Winning Colors was run for the 14th time Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Finley’sluckycharm was an easy 5 1/2-length winner over her stablemate, Mayla, with both carrying the multi-colored Moore silks ahead of the other five fillies and mares in the six-furlong race.

“That’s the way it was supposed to go,” a smiling Calhoun said afterward.

Always prominent from the start, Finley’sluckycharm opened daylight in the turn and was never threatened thereafter for her seventh victory in nine career starts. The 4-year-old daughter of Twirling Candy returned $2.40 as the heavy favorite after finishing in 1:09.07 over a fast track.

“She’s just so naturally fast,” said winning jockey Brian Hernandez Jr., who won two earlier races on an 11-race card. “She’s a really, really talented filly.”

Although she was a close second in December in the Grade 1 La Brea, Finley’sluckycharm had never won a graded stakes until Saturday. To be sure, Calhoun has the Grade 1 Ballerina – to be run Aug. 26 on the Travers undercard at Saratoga – in his sights, with another Churchill race, the Grade 3 Chicago Handicap on June 24, to serve as a steppingstone.

“This has been a good spot to get her ready for something like that,” said Calhoun, noting Finley’sluckycharm prepped for the Winning Colors by winning the Roxelana, an overnight sprint, on April 29, opening night of the 38-day Churchill spring meet.

Mayla, an 18-1 shot under Ricardo Santana Jr., was three-quarters of a length before late-running Sweetgrass. Then came Covey Trace, Athena, Game Time Decision, and Ramona’s Wildcat. Pleasant Tales was an early scratch.

The $2 exacta (6-1) paid $16.20, the $1 trifecta (6-1-2) returned $30.10, and the 10-cent superfecta (6-1-2-3) was worth $18.44.

Daring Duchess wins Keertana

Earlier Saturday, Daring Duchess ($4) assumed command down the stretch the first time and went on to dominate five other fillies and mares with a three-length score in the $65,559 Keertana at 1 3/8 miles on turf.

Ridden by Julien Leparoux for Ramsey Farm and trainer Mike Maker, Daring Duchess turned the tables on Quiet Business after being upset by that rival last month in the Grade 3 Bewitch at Keeneland. The 5-year-old Arch mare finished in 2:29.59 over a firm course.

“Once I saw they were going slow up front, I wanted to get my filly closer to the lead,” Leparoux said. “She relaxed again on the backstretch and opened up strongly when I asked her to go.”

“She wants to run all day long,” Maker said.

** In consecutive third-level allowances early on the card, She Mabee Wild and Money Flows were winners in fields dotted with stakes winners.

She Mabee Wild ($24.40), a standout Indiana-bred, turned back Mines and Magic in finishing seven furlongs in 1:22.52. Jon Court was up.

Money Flows ($5), ridden by Leparoux, overcame a sluggish start in running down a stubborn Egyptian in completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.57.