DEL MAR, CA – Don Robinson’s Cambodia won her second straight Del Mar stakes race in as many attempts, using a well-timed ride from jockey Drayden Van Dyke to win Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 John C. Mabee.
Breaking cleanly from post 4, Van Dyke set Cabmodia in midpack early while Hillhouse High set early fractions of :23.20, :47.38, and 1:11.67.
Chasing three deep into the stretch, Cambodia drove hard to take the lead, then fought off a late-charging Goodyearforroses to gamely cross the line first in a final time of 1:47.79 for the 1 1/8-mile turf event.
“No special instructions for me,” Van Dyke said. “Just get her out of there and get a good spot. She was really relaxed today; all class. She can be a little quirky sometimes, but today, she was calm. We thought she might be close to the lead, but she was just going so easy I was happy with where I was. When it came time, she fired. I was just a passenger today.”
Madame Stripes ran a similar trip to Goodyearforroses, trailing early and closing late to hit the board in third. Insta Erma, Decked Out, Kiss Me Now, Mrs McDougal, Pretty Girl, Amboseli, Lady Valeur, Hillhouse High, Barleysugar, and Frenzified completed the order of finish.
“I felt so fortunate to win the (Grade 2) Yellow Ribbon, and I look at this as icing on the cake,” Robinson said. “This filly has never been a mile and 1/8, and to do it this way – rate and close – I’m over the top. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I’ve raised some awfully good ones for other people, but this is a thrill. This is a crowning achievement. I love Del Mar.”
Cambodia paid $7.80 to win, $4 to place, and $3.20 to show. Goodyearforroses paid $4.60 to place and $3.40 to show, while Madame Stripes paid $7 to show.