Wine Princess pulls away from the pack to win the Falls City Handicap.

Wine Princess pulls away from the pack to win the Falls City Handicap.

Reed Palmer Photography, Churchill Downs

Wine Princess Goes Out With Falls City Win

The daughter of Azeri to retire after her fourth win from seven starts at Churchill.

Becky Winemiller's Wine Princess again proved her affinity for Churchill Downs with a strong victory in the $150,000 Falls City Handicap (gr. II) Nov. 28 at the Kentucky track (VIDEO).

A regally  bred 4-year-old filly by 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper  out of the champion Jade Hunter mare Azeri, Wine Princess was bred in Kentucky by the Allen Paulson Living Trust. She now has five wins, five seconds, and a third in 13 starts for earnings of $461,561. The Falls City victory was her second in a graded stakes following the Monmouth Oaks (gr. III) in August 2012.

Ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan for trainer Steve Margolis, 4-1 shot Wine Princess defeated favored Don't Tell Sophia by 2 3/4 lengths. The winning chestnut previously finished second in the Chilukki Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill and third in the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland. Her Churchill record improved to four wins and two seconds in seven local starts.

Wine Princess is to be retired to the breeding shed at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in Lexington for a new career as a broodmare.

"This filly’s been special from the get-go," Margolis said. "Becky and Jimmy (Winemiller) have been so good. They’ve always said ‘Do what’s best for the filly.’ For us, it couldn’t have ended on a happier note."

Longshot Magic Hour set the pace in the 1 1/8-mile Falls City with early fractions of :25.01 for the opening quarter mile and :49.30 for the half mile, and 1:13.51 for six furlongs. Wine Princess sat in third early, bid for the lead on the far turn, took over in the stretch, and pulled away to win smartly in 1:50.12 on a fast track.

Don't Tell Sophia, last early in the field of eight fillies and mares, rallied well for second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of second choice Flashy American in third. My Option finished evenly for fourth.

"I thought when Don't Tell Sophia came to us, we'd have to fight it out, but she just had another gear today," Margolis said. "She gave us a hell of a race today. She really did."

"It was emotional because I've ridden her every time she has run," Bridgmohan said. "I was around her when she first got here; I worked her for her first half-mile. She has run hard every time, and it's gratifying to get one of these for her. She deserves it."

Wine Princess, carrying 117 pounds, paid $10.80, $5, and $2.80 across the board as the third choice in the Falls City. Don't Tell Sophia, the 122-pound highweight, returned $3.40 and $2.20; Flashy American paid $2.60. The $2 exacta paid $28.80 and the trifecta $54.

Magic Hour, Ice Cream Silence, Molly Morgan, and Owl Moon completed the order of finish. Fiftyshadesofhay, who would have been among the choices, was scratched.