11/24/2016 4:49PM

Lady Fog Horn wins Falls City Handicap, validating trainer's decision

Coady Photography
Lady Fog Horn and jockey Albin Jimenez win the Falls City Handicap by 1 1/2 lengths Thursday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Tony Granitz came jogging down the Churchill Downs paddock runway, elated with how his plan had come together.

“I guess we made the right call, huh?” Granitz said after Lady Fog Horn outran 10 other fillies and mares Thursday in the 101st running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Falls City Handicap, the highlight of a 12-race Thanksgiving Day card.

Lady Fog Horn, always in close attendance of a soft pace while saving ground under Albin Jimenez, split rivals in midstretch and edged clear to win the 1 1/8-mile Falls City by 1 1/2 lengths. Streamline was second, followed by longshots Walkabout and She Mabee Wild.

Lady Fog Horn returned $14 after finishing in 1:50.85 over a fast track.

Lady Fog Horn, a 4-year-old Indiana-bred filly, is owned by The Elkstone Group of Stuart Grant. She was scratched last weekend from the Grade 3 Cardinal over the Churchill turf after Granitz decided to wait for the Falls City on dirt.

“She was doing so well, and we were excited about running on the grass,” said Granitz, a Chicago-based trainer who won his first graded stakes since the 2003 Hawthorne Derby. “But I looked close at the numbers and decided to go this route. Fortunately, it worked out just great. I’m thrilled.”

She Mabee Wild, a 43-1 shot, set fractions of 24.42 seconds, 49.18, and 1:14.27 before the field started to bunch up. Streamline, always close, made the lead from the outside before Lady Fog Horn rallied just off the rail with her winning move. Walkabout rallied belatedly to get third at 23-1.

Lady Fog Horn now has won 13 of 22 starts and earned $764,553 after adding $116,560 with her first graded stakes win. She has amassed most of her earnings by racing primarily in statebred company at Indiana Grand.

For Jimenez, it was his 965th victory in the United States but his first in a graded event. The leading jockey the last few winters at Turfway Park, the 25-year-old native of Panama will ride this winter at Tampa Bay Downs.

The two Falls City favorites, both dispatched at 5-2, turned in dreadful performances: Include Betty was 10th, and Go Maggie Go was 11th.

The $2 exacta (3-11) paid $84.40, the $1 trifecta (3-11-1) returned $361.70, and the 10-cent superfecta (3-11-1-5) was worth $5,928.90.