Domino Stud of Lexington’s Miss Isella squeezed through a narrow opening along the rail in defeating 1-2 favorite One Caroline by three-quarters of a length to win the 24th running of the $379,700 Louisville Distaff (Grade II) on Friday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Ian Wilkes, Miss Isella gave Borel his fifth victory in the Louisville Distaff.
One Caroline, who had won her first five career starts with two victories at Churchill Downs, shot to the lead out of the gate under Edgar Prado and led the field of six through fractions of :23.96, :47.65 and 1:11.72.
Turning for home One Caroline was challenged on the rail by Miss Isella and Swift Temper on the outside.
The trio raced as a team to the eighth pole when Swift Temper dropped back, leaving One Caroline and Miss Isella to battle it out with the latter drawing clear at the sixteenth pole.
Miss Isella returned mutuels of $19.40, $4.40 and $3.20. One Caroline paid $2.20 and $2.10 in finishing 8 1/4 lengths clear of Swift Temper, who paid $3.40 to show under Garrett Gomez.
Miss Isella, who closed 2008 with a victory in the Grade II Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs, covered the mile and a sixteenth on a “sloppy” track in 1:42.75.
Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Moss’ Zenyatta, the undefeated 2008 Eclipse Award-winning mare, was scratched from the race by trainer John Shirreffs because of track conditions.
The victory was worth $235,414 and increased Miss Isella’s earnings to $438,157 with her fifth win in 14 starts and fourth at Churchill Downs.
LOUISVILLE DISTAFF QUOTES
CALVIN BOREL (rider of winner Miss Isella) – “I don’t know if (One Caroline) finished the way (Edgar Prado) thought she would or she wasn’t handling the track or whatever, but she went nice and comfortable on the lead. But my filly loves this racetrack. She’s an incredible filly on this track. She’s a totally different filly on this track and any other track. The whole track was fine. I just couldn’t get out of (the inside) with two horses outside of me. He got his filly relaxed two or three (paths) off the fence and I took the opportunity to move on in there and go on.”
IAN WILKES (trainer of winner Miss Isella) – Home-court advantage? “I think so. We have a muddy track and our filly loves the mud. Rusty’s (Arnold) filly ran good. She’s a nice filly. Let’s give her all credit. She did all the work up front and we had a cozy little trip.”
EDGAR PRADO (rider of second-place finisher One Caroline) – “We were in tight there coming for home, but it wasn’t a case of a foul. I knew he was there and there was just enough room for him to get through. My filly tried hard. She just couldn’t get it done today.”
RUSTY ARNOLD (trainer of second-place finisher One Caroline) – “I don’t know who was doing what, but they were in there pretty tight. It’s horse racing. I’m not surprised the way the race played out. She got out there easy on the lead and was coasting right along. The other filly just ran a big race. Give her credit.”
GARRETT GOMEZ (rider of third-place finisher Swift Temper) – “I had a good trip. I saved all the ground around the first turn and I was in a good spot. She gave it her best. She couldn’t quite get there today.”