The Elkstone Group's Indiana homebred Lady Fog Horn—the reigning Indiana Horse of the Year—sounded off against open company Nov. 24 at Churchill Downs with a 1 1/2-length triumph over Streamline in the $200,000 Falls City Handicap (gr. II).
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 (gr. III).
Lady Fog Horn stalked the early pace set by She Mabee Wild, who 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."
Lady Fog Horn is a 4-year-old daughter of Zavata, out of the Northern Spur mare Titia, and scratched out of the Nov. 19 Cardinal Handicap (gr. IIT) 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."
The victory brought Lady Fog Horn's career earnings to $764,553 from a record of 13-3-2 in 22 starts. She is the the richest Indiana-bred female.
Lady Fog Horn returned $14, $6.20, and $5.80 as the 6-1 fourth betting choice. Streamline returned $6.20 and $4.60 and finished a half-length in front of Walkabout, who paid $9 to show.