LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016) – The Elkstone Group’s Indiana homebred Lady Fog Horn – the reigning Indiana Horse of the Year – sounded off against open company on Thanksgiving Day at Churchill Downs with a 1 ½-length triumph over Streamline in the 101st running of the $200,000 Falls City Handicap (Grade II) for fillies and mares.
Lady Fog Horn, trained by Tony Granitz and ridden by Albin Jimenez, ran 1 1/8 miles over a fast track in 1:50.85 to notch the eighth stakes win of her career but first outside of competition against fellow Indiana-breds.
For Jimenez, it was the first graded stakes win of his North American riding career, which began in 2010. Granitz secured his first graded stakes win since False Promises won the 2003 Hawthorne Derby (GIII).
Lady Fog Horn stalked the early pace set by She Mabee Wild as she led the field of 11 fillies and mares through fractions of :24.42, :49.18 and 1:14.27. Streamline raced in second in the clear down the backstretch with Lady Fog Horn under a snug hold down on the rail in third. Streamline drew even with the weakening leader at the head of the stretch and Lady Fog Horn was stuck in traffic awaiting room to run. A seam opened with three-sixteenths of a mile to run and Lady Fog Horn split horses and outkicked Streamline to the finish for the win.
“I saw (She Mabee Wild) take the lead and I was sitting in behind nice and easy,” Jimenez said. “My horse came down the stretch nice and strong. I thank God first and a thank you to the owner and the trainer and all the people that are involved.”
Lady Fog Horn, who carried 117 pounds during the victory, is a 4-year-old daughter of Zavata out of the Northern Spur (IRE) mare Titia.
The victory was worth $116,560 to her owner Stuart Grant and brought Lady Fog Horn’s career earnings to $764,553 from a record of 13-3-2 in 22 starts. She is the record-holder for the richest Indiana-bred female.
Lady Fog Horn returned $14, $6.20 and $5.80 as the 6-1 fourth betting choice. Streamline, who carried 117 pounds under Ricardo Santana Jr., returned $6.20 and $4.60 in finishing a half-length in front of Walkabout, who paid $9 to show under Brian Hernandez Jr. while carrying 116 pounds.
She Mabee Wild, Romantic Vision, Crooked Stick, Alotta Skirt, No Fault of Mine, Sweetgrass, 120-pound starting high weight Include Betty and 5-2 favorite Go Maggie Go completed the order of finish.
Lady Fog Horn scratched out of last Saturday’s $100,000 Cardinal Handicap (GII) on the turf in favor of Thursday’s Falls City.
“It was a tough call scratching her last week because we had run second in the Cardinal Handicap last year and she was doing so well,” Granitz said. “We were trying to make the right decision and it was a last minute one. Albin couldn’t ride her last Saturday. He had to ride in a stakes race in Ohio so I said, ‘I want her regular rider to come and ride her,’ and we knew today he could do that. It was a tough call and this was a big move for me to scratch her out of the race last week to put her in here.”
Prior to the Falls City, Lady Fog Horn won the $150,000 Frances Slocum at Indiana Grand on Oct. 29 for the second consecutive year – one of her six stakes victories over that track during the past two seasons.
The Falls City is the traditional main dish on the Thanksgiving Day menu at Churchill Downs – a Louisville tradition since 1969 where more than 7,000 turkey dinners are served with all the trimmings, making it the largest number anywhere in the region.
This year’s holiday program also included the 39th running of the $100,000 River City Handicap (GIII), a 1 1/8-mile test for older horses over the Matt Winn Turf Course, which was won by Thatcher Street.
Racing at Churchill Downs resumes on “Black Friday” with a 12-race program that begins at 1 p.m. (all times Eastern). The 143rd running of the $500,000 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI) highlights a program that also includes the 26th running of the $200,000 Mrs. Revere (GII) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course and the $80,000-added Dream Supreme Overnight Stakes for fillies and mares at six furlongs. Also, there’s an 18-day Single 6 Jackpot carryover of $154,719 that covers Races 7-12 starting at 3:57 p.m.
FALLS CITY QUOTES
TONY GRANITZ, trainer of LADY FOG HORN (winner): “We’re excited. We’re even letting the jockey (Albin Jiminez) stay at our house! It was a tough call scratching her last week because we had run second in the Cardinal Handicap last year and she was doing so well. We were trying to make the right decision and it was a last minute one. Albin couldn’t ride her last Saturday; he had to ride in a stakes race in Ohio so I said, ‘I want her regular rider to come and ride her,’ and we knew today he could do that. It was a tough call and this was a big move for me to scratch her out of the race last week to put her in here.”
ABLIN JIMINEZ, jockey of LADY FOG HORN (winner): “She always breaks real quickly. I saw my competition from Indiana, number 5 (She Mabee Wild), she beat me in Indiana once earlier this year and so I saw her take the lead and I was sitting in behind nice and easy. My horse came down the stretch nice and strong. I thank God first and a thank you to the owner and the trainer and all the people that are involved.”
BRIAN WILLIAMSON, trainer of STREAMLINE (runner-up): “I thought she ran huge. We were all happy with her performance.”
Q: Will you head to Oaklawn with her? “The game plan was to go to Oaklawn. I was hoping to get a couple of races in her at Churchill before we went down there and it kind of worked out great. I had to sprint her first time, but that was the plan to try to get her set up for Oaklawn, but also try to win some money here.”
Q: You had to feel pretty good when the field turned for home … “She’s got a lot of heart and we couldn’t ask for anything more. It was a good race for her. We were so happy last spring when she was running lights out at Oaklawn, then she came up with a little problem after the Apple Blossom, but that seems to be behind her now. We’re just tickled to death with the way she ran today.”
RICARDO SANTANA JR., jockey on STREAMLINE (runner-up): “It was her first time at a mile-and-an-eighth and we were a little scared about the last sixteenth. She was coming back off a layoff and she ran okay. We were worried about that last little bit, but she ran really big and now she’s ready for that next race.”
IAN WILKES, trainer of WALKABOUT (third): “She ran good. She’s getting it together and she’s going to have a little break now. She’s going to be a nice, nice 4-year-old.”
BRIAN HERNANDEZ JR., jockey on WALKABOUT (third): “We had a great trip. For these kind of fillies they went really slow in front of us. We worked out a good trip and ended up getting up for third, which is good for this filly. Anytime you get a graded stakes placing on a filly, it’s huge.”
THATCHER STREET DIGS IN TO BEAT PLEUVEN IN GRADE III RIVER CITY ’CAP
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016) – Thatcher Street capped a big day at Churchill Downs for Australian-born trainer Ian Wilkeswhen his 5-year-old gelding came back to beat chief rival Pleuven (FR) by a half-length to win Thursday’s 39th running of the $100,000 River City Handicap (GIII).
In May, Thatcher Street beat Pleuven (FR) by the same margin in Churchill Downs’ $62,640 Opening Verse Overnight Stakes. “Those are two great horses that keep beating each other,” said Pleuven’s trainer Phil Sims. “They go back and forth, trading places – Thatcher Street and Pleuven do.”
In addition to Thatcher Street, Wilkes saddled War Stroll and Bird Song to allowance victories, and the former gave him the one-time assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Carl Nafzger his 500th career win.
Thatcher Street, a son of Street Sense whom Nafzger and Wilkes handled during his 2007 Kentucky Derby victory, ran 1 1/8 miles over firm turf in 1:51.45. Brian Hernandez Jr. rode the winner for owners Randall Bloch, Phil Milner, John Seiler and Fred Merritt’s Amtietan LLC. The victory avenged a two-length, runner-up loss to Heart to Heart in last year’s River City.
Roman Approval dictated the early pace and led the field of 13 3-year-olds and up through fractions of :24.15, :49.12 and 1:14.03 with Thatcher Street in close pursuit to his outside in third. Thatcher Street took the lead leaving the far turn only to lose it briefly when Pleuven (FR) slipped through the inside and stuck his nose in front. Thatcher Street, however, re-rallied and surged past his rival inside the final sixteenth of a mile and turned back late runs by 2-1 favorite and 124-pound high weight The Pizza Man and Taghleeb, who finished third and fourth, respectively.
The victory was worth $57,040 to Thatcher Street and increased the Kentucky-bred’s earnings to $388,832. He boasts a record of 5-7-8 in 26 starts, and has now won four of his seven starts over the Matt Winn Turf Course with two seconds and a third. This was his first graded stakes victory.
“He loves this turf course and he really brings his A-game every time,” Wilkes said. “It’s great to have such nice horses. We’ve got real nice horses and that’s what it’s all about. They’re all tremendous, they’ve run real well and I’m just so proud of them.”
Thatcher Street, who carried 118 pounds, returned mutuels of $16.40, $7.60 and $4.40 as the 7-1 fourth betting choice. Pleuven (FR), ridden by Corey Lanerie at 118 pounds, returned $4.60 and $3. The Pizza Man was another half-length back in third under Shaun Bridgmohan and paid $2.80 to show.
Taghleeb, Dac, Coco Mon, Bullards Alley, Dubai Sky, Croninthebarbarian, Behesht (FR), Roman Approval, Dujac and One Go All Gocompleted the order of finish. Are You Kidding Me, Allied Air Raid and Granny’s Kitten were scratched.
RIVER CITY QUOTES
IAN WILKES, trainer of THATCHER STREET (winner): “He loves this turf course and he really brings his A-game every time. It’s great to have such nice horses. We’ve got real nice horses and that’s what it’s all about. They’re all tremendous, they’ve run real well and I’m just so proud of them.”
BRIAN HERNANDEZ JR., jockey of THATCHER STREET (winner): “He obviously loves the Churchill turf course here and it’s a little bit beat up this late in the fall but we got him out on the better part of it and he showed today that he’s the best horse. He ran real great. He just seems to carry himself better here. Over at Keeneland he was a little fresh that day (Oct. 26) and he kind of got away from us and went a little too quick that time, but today he got into a nice rhythm and when (jockey Corey) Lanerie (aboard Pleuven) came to him and held him off real easily.”
PHIL SIMS, trainer of PLEUVEN (runner-up): “He ran a great race. Those are two great horses that keep beating each other. They go back and forth, trading places – Thatcher Street and Pleuven do. So we’re very happy.”
COREY LANERIE, jockey on PLEUVEN (runner-up): “As soon as I got up to that horse (Thatcher Street) to his blinker, he fought back as soon as he saw me. I thought I’d have to worry that The Pizza Man would come flying and he (Thatcher Street) came back and got me. But my horse ran great and I don’t think there was anything I could have done different.”
SHAUN BRIDGMOHAN, jockey on THE PIZZA MAN (third as the 2-1 favorite): “Other than having him trying to maneuver over that soft turf course, I didn’t have any problems. That turf was pretty soft for him today and he got back a little bit farther than I really wanted him to. I had to ride him through it a bit and hold his head up in certain spots, but he tried all the way. He’s a quality horse and even if (the course) wasn’t to his liking, he still gave a great effort.”