12/06/2008 12:00AM

Rutherienne taking a step back


MIAMI - After taking on the best of her division over the past six months, Rutherienne will get some much-needed class relief when she returns to Grade 3 company for Saturday's $100,000 My Charmer Handicap at Calder. The 1 1/8-mile My Charmer shares top billing on the card with the Grade 3 Tropical Park Turf Handicap.

Rutherienne's running lines look like a Who's Who of the filly and mare turf division. In her last start, Rutherienne finished third behind ultimate the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare champion, Forever Together, and three-time Grade 1 winner Precious Kitten in the Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland. Six weeks earlier she was also third behind former Eclipse Award winner Wait a While and subsequent Grade 1 winner Carriage Trail in the Ballston Spa at Saratoga.

In fact, Rutherienne has finished third in each of her last five starts, two of those losses coming to Forever Together and a third to Precious Kitten in the Grade 1 Gamely in May.

"She's run very well all year, but unfortunately she's been meeting the best of her crop," said Christophe Clement, who trains Rutherienne for owner-breeder Virginia Kraft Payson. "Our only other option was to take her to California last Sunday for the Matriarch, but I felt the My Charmer would be a much easier spot for her."

Rutherienne, who has won all three of her previous starts at Calder, including the Grade 3 Frances Genter in her 3-year-old finale, registered her lone tally in 2008 when she began her campaign in Keeneland's Grade 2 Jenny Wiley.

"Her only race below form this year was the one in Virginia, and that was over softer turf which she really does not care for," Clement said of Rutherienne's third-place finish in the All Along at Colonial in June.

Rutherienne will carry high weight of 121 pounds, with Rene Douglas reuniting with her for the first time since the 2007 Genter.

Two other invaders, the Canada-based Callwood Dancer and the Northern California filly and mare turf queen Wild Promises, lead the opposition.

Callwood Dancer outlasted Forever Together for second money while finishing a length behind J'ray in the Grade 2 Canadian at Woodbine in September. She was also runner-up to Folk Opera the following month in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor.

Wild Promises, a half-sister to Icy Atlantic - who will start in the Tropical Turf Handicap - brings a four-race win streak to town for trainer Greg Gilchrist.