Stoneway Farm's homebred Ahh Chocolate tracked the early pace of longshot Gamblers Rose through most of the running of the Nov. 26 Falls City Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs, then powered to the front to win the nine-furlong race by 1 1/2 lengths.
Video: Falls City H. (G2)
Theogony, who tracked the first two, finished second with Call Pat third.
The 3-year-old filly Ahh Chocolate paid $14.20, $7, and $4.20 as the 6-1 third choice in the $200,000 Falls City for fillies and mares. Frivolous, the 3-1 morning line favorite, was scratched from the Falls City and the Nov. 27 Clark Handicap (gr. I) because of a tendon injury and will be retired; Tiz So Sweet (5-1) and Needmore Flattery (50-1) were also scratched.
Theogony paid $12 and $7, whle Call Pat returned $4. The $2 exacta 6-11 paid $124.40. Chide, the 5-2 second choice in the field, took a bad step while running along the inside on the turn and pitched rider Miguel Mena. Chide was vanned off and euthanized after fracturing her left front leg, according to reports from Churchill. Mena was "OK" and returned to the jock's room
The winner, by Candy Ride out of Ahh, by Saint Liam, was ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr. and is trained by Neil Howard.
"She's a big filly; she's growing all the time," Howard said after the race. "We knew by fall she had started coming to hand. She ran well in the Chilukki (Stakes, gr. II, Nov. 7) and we knew she was consistent on this track."
Ahh Chocolate was second in the one-mile Chilukki and earlier in the year was third in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) at Pimlico Race Course at 1 1/8 miles and fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Indiana Oaks (gr. II). The Falls City victory, worth $119,040 to the winner, boosts her career earnings to $281,877 off a 4-1-1 mark in nine starts.
Gamblers Rose, a 29-1 chance with Ricardo Santana Jr. aboard, took the early advantage and was able to set a very moderate tempo of :24.12, :48.31, and 1:12.77 on a track rated fast. Hernandez bided his time while tall in the saddle aboard Ahh Chocolate, making headway toward the leader at the head of the lane. At the eighth-pole, after one mile in 1:37.40, the advantage was 1 1/2 lengths. The final time was 1:49.68.
Gamblers Rose faded, eventually finishing eighth in the field of 10.
"She has got a big, long stride," Hernandez said of the winner. "When she switched leads at the quarter-pole I knew she was going to run big."
Ahh Chocolate is the second foal out of Ahh, from the lone crop of 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam. Unplaced in two starts, Ahh is out of Ministrada, the dam of millionaire and multiple graded stakes winner Rahystrada and Lone Star Sky, winner of Churchill Downs' Bashford Manor Stakes (gr. III) in 2002.
James Stone purchased Ahh for $200,000 (in foal to Indian Charlie) at the 2010 Keeneland November sale from Eaton Sales, agent.