04/30/2009 11:00PM

Miss Isellla upsets One Caroline in Louisville

Barbara D. Livingston
One Caroline (center) leads as Miss Isella (right) and Calvin Borel come up the rail to win Friday's Louisville.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Home-court advantage can be a major factor in any sport - including the Sport of Kings.

Miss Isella took advantage over her home track, parlaying a vintage Calvin Borel ride into a three-quarter-length victory over the previously undefeated One Caroline in Friday's $350,000 Louisville Distaff at Churchill Downs. The Grade 2 race lost some of its luster after reigning divisional champion Zenyatta scratched earlier in the day because the track was wet.

Miss Isella had finished a distant fourth behind One Caroline when the pair met 10 weeks earlier in Gulfstream Park's Grade 3 Sabin. But Miss Isella, a 4-year-old daughter of Silver Charm, had won three of her previous five starts at Churchill Downs, including the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap in her 3-year-old finale.

As expected, One Caroline controlled the pace, cutting out relatively slow fractions of 23.96 seconds, 47.65, and 1:11.72 while kept several paths off the rail by jockey Edgar Prado. Meanwhile Borel positioned Miss Isella closer to the leader than usual while hugging the inside rail from the outset.

Miss Isella edged to within a length of One Caroline around the second bend, then made her move from along the fence once straightening into the stretch. One Caroline leaned in on Miss Isella, jostling her several times, while digging in gamely near midstretch. But in the end, Miss Isella proved best, edging away inside the final sixteenth of a mile.

Miss Isella completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.75 over a track upgraded to "good" at post time. She paid $19.40.

"My filly loves Churchill Downs," said trainer Ian Wilkes, who earlier in the day sent out his top 3-year-old prospect, Warrior's Reward, to defeat a strong field of allowance rivals.

"She gets over this track real well," Wilkes said of Miss Isella. "My filly just won't run at Gulfstream Park, for whatever reason, and One Caroline was too good for us the first time we met in Florida. But give her a lot of credit. She did all the work up front today."

Trainer Rusty Arnold offered little excuse for One Caroline, who suffered her first defeat in six career starts.

"My filly loved the racetrack," said Arnold. "Ian's filly just outran us today."