Getting a patented rail-skimming ride from Calvin Borel, Miss Isella won Thursday's 93rd running of the $169,800 Falls City Handicap (gr. II) by a length over Skylighter on Thanksgiving Day at Churchill Downs.
Spring Waltz, winner of the Rampart Handicap (gr. II) for trainer Bobby Frankel earlier this year, carries top weight of 120 pounds in a full field of 12 fillies and mares for the $150,000 Falls City Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 27.
There were many who questioned whether champion mare Ginger Punch would be able to stretch out to 10 furlongs, something she had never done before. In the $400,000 Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 22 at Saratoga, the 5-year-old daughter of Awesome Again was grateful for the added distance, as she needed every last stride to pass Lemon Drop Mom.
On Aug. 22, Ginger Punch will try something she has never done -- go 10 furlongs for the first time in the $400,000 Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. She will take on six rivals in the main track event.
Hall of Fame trainer Robert Frankel was still amazed with the way Ginger Punch managed to defend her Go for Wand Handicap (gr. I) July 26 at Saratoga title by muscling her way between horses after being boxed in at the top of the stretch.
Last year, Stronach Stables' Ginger Punch romped to a six-length victory in the Go For Wand (gr. I) en route to her Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) win and being named champion older female. The scary part for her competition is that trainer Bobby Frankel says the daughter of Awesome Again is vastly improved as a 5-year-old.
Sensational 5-year-old mare Hystericalady added yet another item to her already impressive resume, and in the process insured her return to the Breeders' Cup with a four-length romp in the $1 million Delaware Handicap (gr. II) July 13 at Delaware Park.
A quality field of 11 fillies and mares will do battle in the $1-million Delaware Handicap (gr. II) July 13, but the 10-furlong event may come down to a superstars Hystericalady and Unbridled Belle, who have a combined eight graded stakes victories between them.
Robert Scarborough's Mauralakana looks to increase her value as a future broodmare even more when she seeks her fourth stakes victory of the season June 21 in the $250,000 New York Handicap (gr. IIT) at Belmont Park.
Since her tough luck loss in last year's Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I), all Ginger Punch has done is reel off five grade I or II victories and collect the Eclipse Award for top older female. On June 14 the Awesome Again mare will return to Belmont for some unfinished business as the overwhelming favorite in the $300,000 Ogden Phipps.
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
Silver Charm has not been as dazzling a sire as he was a racehorse. Still, the son of Silver Buck is proving he can produce top-notch runners, such as Rampart Handicap (gr. II) winner Spring Waltz. The 4-year-old filly is apparently drawing her racing prowess from the same genetic well as her sire -- inbreeding to the great mare La Troienne.
Making her stakes debut, Stronach Stables' homebred Spring Waltz split rivals at the furlong marker, surged to the lead at the sixteenth-pole, and romped to the wire under Javier Castellano with an impressive 3 1/4-length victory in the $200,000 Rampart Handicap (gr. II) March 9 on the Gulfstream Park dirt.
Graded stakes winners Tessa Blue and Golden Velvet will take on impressive allowance winner Spring Waltz in the $200,000 Rampart Handicap (gr. II) March 9 at Gulfstream Park. A field of seven has been entered for the main track event.
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