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Jockey Calvin Borel gives Miss Isella a pat as they head to the winner's circle after the Falls City Handicap.
Thanksgiving weekend closes out the racing season at Churchill Downs, with stakes races scheduled each day. The Thanksgiving Day feature at the Louisville oval was the $150,000 Falls City Handicap (G2), a 1 1/8 mile trip over the main track for older fillies and mares. Frank Stronach homebred Spring Waltz, a close second in the Turnback the Alarm Handicap at Belmont Park was sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the field of 11 over 7-2 second choice Skylighter, winner of the Indiana Oaks at Hoosier Park last out. 9-2 Brownie Points, fourth in the Remington Green Stakes against males at Remington Park, completed the top three on the toteboard. Racing conditions were ideal, with clear skies, a fast track, and temperatures in the mid 40's.
Miss Isella leads downs the stretch over Skylighter and Swift Temper
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 4 Miss Isella Borel 32.60 12.60 8.20 6 Skylighter Leparoux 5.40 3.80 3 Tell It As It Is Wilson 11.40 Winning Time: 1:50.78 $2 Exacta 4-6 195.80 $2 Trifecta 4-6-3 5,567.80 $2 Superfecta 4-6-3-5 51,825.80
Right: Miss Isella circles after the race. Winning jockey Calvin Borel said, "She broke good and we gave them a 5 or 6 length head start and we took them from there. We set our own fractions. Ian (Wilkes) doesn't give too many instructions and says 'You know how to ride.' I think 5 or 6 months from now, you're going to see a really good filly, this filly, because she's just coming around. I am very lucky, I guess. It's the end of the meet and fillies always seem to come ready at the end. It's a wonderful ride."
Left: Miss Isella gets identified in the paddock before the race. Winning trainer Ian Wilkes said, "She's really just been improving. She really just turned the corner and got better and better. I tried to get into a two-turn race but it didn't go and we used the seven furlongs (last start) just as a work into this. The filly ran great. I'm just so happy for this filly. It's a shame that Mr. (owner-breeder Ken) Jones passed away not too long ago and a shame that he wasn't here. He really loved this filly. That's the biggest disappointment of it all because she's just getting better and better. She's only three so I think she's got a long year next year." The filly is nominated to the Keeneland January sale pending the late owner's family's decision.
Right: Second place finisher Skylighter heads out to the track before the race. Her jockey Julien Leparoux said, "She ran a good race. I don't really have any excuse. She just ran out of gas a little. She came up at the quarter-pole like she was going to win and just got beat."
Left: Third place finisher Tell It as It Is heads out to the race before the race. Her jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson said, "At every point in the race I thought I had a shot to get it done. Until we hit the wire and I was third I thought I could win. She brought her game face today and coming around the turn she was making her typical move and handling the dirt really well, and I thought if we were good enough we'd get there. We ran third and it was a good effort. I thought she really ran well coming off those races on Polytrack and the grass. She's always trained on the dirt (training) track at Woodbine and she loves it out there."
Right: Sixth place finisher and beaten favorite Spring Waltz in the paddock before the race. Her jockey Robby Albarado said, "We had a great trip. She made a nice run around the turn, but she just leveled off the last part. I don't have any excuses."
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