DEL MAR, CA – Winter Quarter Farm’s Cambodia successfully defended her title in the Grade 2, $200,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap at Del Mar on Saturday, romping home strongly as the 8/5 favorite.
Breaking from post 11 under Drayden Van Dyke, Cambodia stalked three-wide not far behind early leader Sassy Little Lila through opening splits of :23.33, :47.03, and 1:10.57. Making her bid in the far turn, Cambodia took command before hitting the top of the stretch. Kicking for home strongly, Cambodia drew off in the final furlong to win by 2 1/2 growing lengths in a final time of 1:40.51 for the 1 1/16-mile turf event.
“She put me up there in the race,” said Van Dyke. “She’s got that natural speed and she wants to be in the race. I was just biding my time; I had a couple to beat, but I had good aim. She likes this turf course, no doubt. It’s all clicking for me right now. I’m feeling good and riding good. I want to keep it going.”
Behind the winner came a very close battle for second. Madame Stripes took it by a head over Sophie P, with Hallie Belle, Storm the Hill, and Midnight Crossing each a head and two necks back. Pantsonfire edged Beau Recall by another head for seventh just behind them, while further back came Sassy Little Lila, Tisbutadream, and Ancient Secret to complete the order of finish. Fahan Mura was the lone scratch.
Cambodia’s win was her first in 2018 after the well-traveled mare had close finishes in the Grade 1 Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland in April and the Grade 1 Longines Just a Game Stakes at Belmont Park in June. The Thomas Proctor-trained 6-year-old daughter of War Front now carries a record of 18-7-0-6 with earnings of $778,913.
“We really wanted her to do this,” owner/breeder Don Robinson said. “I’ve never had a horse like this and we decided to run her at six, because it’s such a thrill and I feel like I’m vindicated. She’s run in two Grade Is this year and they don’t give those away. She was close (despite finishing sixth and seventh) so we thought maybe she’d make it out here. This is her spot and she loves it.”
Cambodia returned $5.40 to win, $3.20 to place, and $2.60 to show. Madame Stripes brought back $5 to place and $3.60 to show, while Sophie P paid $6.40 to show.