LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- There was no stopping her this time. Miss Isella earned a measure of redemption for a race earlier at the Churchill Downs meet when she drove through a rail opening and gave jockey Calvin Borel his fifth victory in the Grade 2, $169,800 Falls City Handicap on Thursday.
Miss Isella, making her stakes debut at 15-1 in a field of 11 fillies and mares, was coming off a second-place finish in a Nov. 15 allowance. In that race, Ramon Dominguez, the jockey on the narrow winner, Game Face, attempted to block Miss Isella's progress by sticking out his left arm near the wire. Yet, there was no disqualification.
Borel and trainer Ian Wilkes said they were quick to put the incident behind them and focus on the Falls City, which anchored a 12-race Thanksgiving Day card on a mostly sunny afternoon.
"Ian said to go on about our business, and we did," said Borel. "The filly was there for me today. When she saw that hole, she went right on through."
Swift Temper set the pace in the 1 1/8-mile Falls City, with Brownie Points, making the final start of her 27-race career, among those lurking closest. Into the far turn, as Swift Temper began to labor, Skylighter was in an ideal spot, but Miss Isella darted through the inside opening after turning for home and quickly drew clear, finishing in 1:50.78 over a fast main track. She paid $32.60.
Skylighter, with Julien Leparoux riding for trainer Bobby Frankel, finished a length behind the winner and another length before Tell It as It Is, a 31-1 shot. Swift Temper was fourth, while Spring Waltz, the 120-pound highweight and 2-1 favorite for Frankel, was not a factor in finishing sixth.
Miss Isella, a gray 3-year-old by Silver Charm, is owned by the Domino Stud, whose owner, Ken Jones, died last month at 90.
Previous wins in the Falls City for Borel came aboard Halo America (1996), Silent Eskimo (1999), Lead Story (2003), and Kettleoneup (2007). He would have had another one in 2006 on Ermine but was injured in a spill earlier in the day and took off the mount. Hall of Fame jockey Don Brumfield holds the record for most Falls City victories with seven.
Churchill Downs, 11th Race - November 27, 2008