Finallymadeit leads the way in the Fred W. Hooper Handicap.

Finallymadeit leads the way in the Fred W. Hooper Handicap.

Jim Lisa Photos

Finallymadeit Shows Way in Hooper Upset

Front-running colt earns first grades stakes win in Calder surprise.

Front-running Finallymadeit shook off a challenge from Dream Maestro to post his first grade stakes win, a 1 1/4-length triumph in the $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Calder Race Course Dec. 13.

Finallymadeit made it back-to-back stakes wins for owner/breeder Rolbea Thoroughbred Racing and trainer Javier Negrete. Dream Maestro finished second and Actin Good was third as the first three to cross the wire reprised their most recent finish in the Carl G. Rose Classic Handicap for state-breds Nov. 8 at Calder. In spite of the similarity in finish, the payoffs were fat, with the 7-1 shot Finallymadeit combining with 12-1 Dream Maestro for a $2 exacta worth $134.60. Actin Good, at 13-1, rounded out a $2 trifecta of $707.40. The $1 superfecta, with even-money choice Gottcha Gold finishing fourth, was $980.70.

Finallymadeit is now a 13-time winner at Calder in 26 starts. The final time for the 1 1/8-mile dirt event was 1:53.75 on a fast track.

“It was no secret we were going to be on the lead, just a matter of how far we can take them," winning jockey Eduardo Nunez said. "Last time out, we got loose on the lead and kind of stole the race. Today there was more pressure on us and I had to restrain my horse as opposed to letting him relax. I think this horse does not get the credit he deserves.”

Finallymadeit took control soon after the start, setting the pace while racing off the rail with Gottcha Gold content to track in second under Charles Lopez. The soft quarter-mile fractions for the first six furlongs were :23.96, :48.62, and 1:13.56.

Gottcha Gold tired in the homestretch as Dream Maestro, ridden by Juan Leyva, and Actin Good, piloted by Elvis Trujillo, took up the chase. Dream Maestro drew to within a length in the final eighth, but Finallymadeit, responding to urging from Nunez, edged away in the final strides in an all-out effort. Dream Maestro, who could not gain on the winner late, wound up second by a half-length over Actin Good, who threatened but lacked the needed late response. It was four lengths to Gottcha Gold, who has lost his last four starts when favored.

Finallymadeit, a 4-year-old son of Concerto, won for the 14th time in 36 lifetime starts and increased his career earnings to $661,265. The chestnut colt won the Carl Rose by 6 1/4 lengths and was timed for the 1 1/8-mile distance that day in 1:52.

"When Gottcha Gold didn’t go for the lead and we were in front in 48 and change (half-mile), I thought he’d go on," Negrete said. "There was a time (this summer) when he didn’t run well in a couple of sprints that we considered retiring him, but then he showed he wanted to go longer and he’s kept going. We’ll go on to the Sunshine Millions now."

Negrete said he would aim for the $1-million Classic at Gulfstream on Jan. 24.

Rolando Rodriguez and Rolbea Stables bred Finallymadeit, who is out of Gold for My Gal, by Gold Alert.

Finallymadeit carried 119 pounds to victory as the fourth choice in the field of 10, paying $16, $8, and $5. Dream Maestro returned $8.80 and $4.80. Actin Good was $8.40 to show.

Gottcha Gold, the 121-pound high weight, was followed by Imawildandcrazyguy, Hal's My Hope, Paladio, Atlantic Paws, Hey Byrn and Nathan Ridge. It's a Bird and Truth Rules scratched.