They called her “The Beast”. The bay mare was a terror to all rivals who dared face her on the track, whether it was on the dirt or on the turf. In a career that spanned almost three years, she won 14 races and became a shining symbol of her home state. This is the story of Lady Fog Horn.
Early Life (2012-2014) - A Star Is Born: In 2011, prominent Delaware attorney Stuart Grant decided to take two of his mares to Indiana to be bred and to foal. One of these mares, Titia, a stakes-placed daughter of Northern Spur (IRE), had already produced five foals at this time (four of which would become winners). Still, she had yet to have a foal that went on to do big things.
Grant’s decision to bring his mares to Indiana was going to give him many benefits - not only would coming to Indiana allow him to find an affordable stallion to match Titia’s needs, but it was also going to allow him to reap the rewards of Indiana’s lucrative breeders program if the foal were successful. Being so, he chose to breed Titia to multiple graded stakes winning stallion Zavata.
Grant kept Titia in Indiana to foal and on May 1st, 2012, Titia foaled a beautiful bay filly - later to be named Lady Fog Horn. Not long after, Grant shipped Titia and her new filly to Kentucky for the rest of her growing-up process. It was around this time that Stuart Grant approached trainer Anthony Granitz during one edition of the Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand. “He told me, ‘I got a couple of Indiana-bred yearlings and when they’re two, I’ll send them to you’”. Granitz didn’t think much of it at the time, but one of those yearlings would become very special to him.
Once Lady Fog Horn matured enough to begin her early training, she was taken to Camden, South Carolina to train with renowned horsewoman Donna Freyer. Freyer worked her magic on Grant’s bay Zavata filly and once she was ready to move on to a real racetrack, Freyer called up Anthony Granitz.
“I remember getting a call from Donna and she said, ‘I got these two horses that are coming to you. One is so-so and the other one acts like she’s got a good future.’” The latter was Lady Fog Horn (the other was named “Can’t Pass A Turtle”, who won one of her nine starts before Stuart found her a great home).
Lady Fog Horn was officially ready to show the world what she was made of.
Two-Year Old Season (2014) - Hinting at a Great Future:
Lady Fog Horn stood out from the moment she entered Granitz’ barn at Indiana Grand. “She had an attitude,” Granitz laughed. “She was a tough girl and she’d let you know. She’d kick at you...and she knew that was better than the average girl.”
She made her debut on Aug. 23rd, 2014 at Indiana Grand with Malcom Franklin in the irons and finished fourth as the second betting choice. She did much better in her second career start on Sept. 12th, but still finished second to Nevertoomanykisses, who had finished third ahead of Lady Fog Horn in her debut.
Finally on Oct. 11th, Lady Fog Horn was stretched out to one mile for the first time and broke her maiden with Malcom Franklin in the irons. Her connections decided that her maiden win was enough to enter her into the Miss Indiana Stakes for Indiana-bred two-year old fillies. This time, Franklin decided to take the mount on a filly named Spooled and Lady Fog Horn was going to be piloted by Albin Jimenez.
Franklin had made the correct decision - Spooled drew away to win the race by 4 ¾ lengths; Lady Fog Horn came home third. Though the bay Zavata filly had lost, she had still hit the board in her stakes debut which was a very good sign. At this point, Indiana Grand was closing for the season and Granitz had to convince Stuart Grant to allow him to take Lady Fog Horn to Tampa Bay Downs in Florida. Grant was hesitant at first, but Granitz had been taking his horses to Tampa for the winter for many years and assured Grant that the warm weather and stiff competition would be good for conditioning Lady Fog Horn. Grant trusted his trainer, so Lady Fog Horn was entered into an Allowance Optional Claimer at Tampa Bay going one mile on the turf course with Pablo Morales in the irons.
Lady Fog Horn finished 4th in this race, though she had been closing well and was only beaten by a couple of lengths. It was decided that she would run at Tampa one more time that year. The race was originally scheduled to go 1 1/16 miles over the turf, but was taken off and put onto the dirt.
It was New Year’s Eve and Granitz was getting very close to the 1,000th win mark. He was sitting at 998 wins when Lady Fog Horn entered the starting gates for that race. She was the fourth choice on the board and was expected to be beaten by Todd Pletcher’s heavy favorite. However, Lady Fog Horn had the benefit of being ridden by Tampa Bay’s leading jockey Antonio Gallardo and that pairing worked marvelously; they rallied down the stretch to win the race and give Anthony Granitz his 999th career victory.
It was a promising way for her to end her juvenile season. (Note: Granitz achieved his 1,000th career win as a trainer on January 4th, 2015 with a horse named Wedding Savior.)
Three-Year Old Season (2015) - Indiana Stakes Domination:
Lady Fog Horn didn’t race again until Feb. 4th, 2015, when she returned in another Allowance Optional Claiming event on the turf. Though both of her wins had come on the dirt course, Granitz felt that she had the stride of a turf horse and was confident that she could win on the grass. Though she was coming off of a victory and had talented jockey Fernando de la Cruz in the irons for her seasonal debut, the betting public made her one of the longest shots in the race.
They were correct in betting that she wouldn’t win the race, but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of talent: Lady Fog Horn reared up the moments the gates swung open, leaving her to trail behind the field who had all gotten a perfect start. She remained far behind until the field approached the far turn, at which point she and Cruz began moving up the rail and towards the leaders. Their move was hampered when the horses straightened up for the stretch drive - Lady Fog Horn had absolutely no running room and had to be checked. It was already much too late when they were finally clear and Lady Fog Horn could begin accelerating; she finished 5th.
She tried again a few weeks later with Antonio Gallardo back in the irons and was finally able to prove that she was going to be successful on the turf - she won the race by about 1 ½ lengths. Stuart Grant decided right then that he would never run Lady Fog Horn with a price tag again - he already knew she was going to be special and he didn’t want to lose her.
After a well-deserved break, Lady Fog Horn returned to her home state of Indiana to continue her three year old season. She easily won an Allowance at the Shelbyville track before stepping back up into stakes company for the second time in her career, this time for the Ellen Lucky Star Stakes for Indiana-bred three-year old fillies. Despite saving ground on the rail, Lady Fog Horn finished 3rd.