Alago Farm's 4-year-old colt Mister Fotis scored a wire-to-wire victory by 6 3/4 lengths in the $100,000 Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap at Calder on the Grand Slam II program Saturday.
Under jockey Jorge Chavez, Mister Fotis defeated Storm Surge and also upset the 4-to-5 favorite Silver Wagon, who finished a head behind the runner-up in third place.
Marty Wolfson trains Mister Fotis, who won his first race since January. The son of Diligence
covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.97 after fractions of :22 3/5 and :45 3/5. He led by four lengths with a furlong to go and was kept to his task by Chavez to the wire.
Wolfson said Mister Fotis had throat surgery following a sixth-place finish in the 1 1/16-mile Goomstick Handicap Sept. 10 and has a win and a second in three starts since.
"It made all the difference right away and he's gotten better with each race since then," Wolfson said. "I have no doubt that he'll go a distance now that he can breathe, but I've been pointing him for the sprint race at Gulfstream (Sunshine Millions Sprint on Jan. 28) for some time, so that's the next target."
Storm Surge is a recent arrival to South Florida for trainer Dallas Stewart's stable. The 3-year-old Storm Cat
colt won the Lecomte (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Race Course early in the year. Silver Wagon was making his first start at Calder since finishing fifth in the 2004 Kenny Noe. In the year since then, the Ralph Ziadie trained colt had finished on the board in several important stakes in Kentucky and New York, including a second-place finish to Ghostzapper in the Met Mile (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
Mister Fotis, sent off as the second choice in the field of seven, paid $9.20, $5.20, and $2.20. Storm Surge paid $5.40 and $2.20, while Silver Wagon returned $2.10 to show.
The winner improved his career record to 5-3-2 in 19 starts with earnings of $290,440.
Taint So ran fourth, followed by Universal Form, Kennel Up, and Champagne Account.