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DEL MAR, CA – A rail-skimming ride the length of the stretch was just enough to propel Beau Recall past an ultra-game Storm the Hill at the wire to nail Saturday’s $200,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap (G2) at Del Mar.
Breaking from the rail under Drayden Van Dyke as the 2/1 second choice, Beau Recall settled back in third while Valedictorian and Storm the Hill raced two-wide up front as the exited the chute. Heading into the clubhouse turn, Storm the Hill moved up along the inside to secure forward position, then posted opening fractions of :23.98, :48.02, and 1:12.09.
As the pacesetter approached the far turn, the 4/5 favorite Vasilika and new rider Julien Leparoux ranged up three-wide, sandwiching Beau Recall in between her and Lemoona along the rail. While beginning to make the turn, Van Dyke tugged on Beau Recall’s reins in order to get inside of the slowing Valedictorian. In doing so, Beau Recall crossed over in front of Lemoona, who had begun to drop off slightly but not enough that she didn’t have to pull up.
Vasilika stayed out three-wide and appeared to lose ground in the far turn as she attempted to pass Valedictorian, but Van Dyke’s heady decision to stay inside soon paid off. A narrow opening appeared between Storm the Hill and the rail, and Beau Recall surged into it. Storm the Hill dug deep and fought back, refusing to let her foe get by without a fight.
The two mares fought nose to nose in the shadow of the wire, and as they crossed, the finish was too close to call with the naked eye. After a lengthy review, the stewards ruled that the Brad Cox-trained Beau Recall had won by the slimmest of margins. The final time was 1:41.23 for the 1 1/16-mile event over the firm turf course.
“That incident (near the far turn) cost me at least half a length,” said Van Dyke. “I got pushed out. My mare was going good and got thrown off stride. She was game. She was coming good. I was hoping I got there, but I had no idea.”
Vasilika showed interest in the stretch run and managed to close within a 1/2-length of the top pair, but she could only muster third. Valedictorian faded to fourth, outkicking Elysea’s World by a neck, while Lemoona never fully reengaged after being pulled up before finishing sixth. Causeforcommotion, Toinette, and Youngest Daughter were scratched.
Beau Recall’s win was her second of the year, having won the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes (G2) in May before most recently finishing a close second in the Just a Game Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park. The 5-year-old Irish-bred daughter of Sir Prancealot improved her record to 24-7-6-0 with $990,512 earned for co-owners Slam Dunk Racing and Medallion Racing.
“Brad just told me to keep her happy and get her to the race happy and healthy,” Donnie Balthazar (assistant trainer for Brad Cox) said. “Brad called Drayden (Van Dyke) earlier today and then Drayden and I just touched base before the race to go over what Brad said. After that, it was him and her. I was nervous at the finish and then it got even more nerve wracking with the objection. I’ve come out here before when we have one running, but I’ve never won a stakes like this.”
Beau Recall returned $6 to win, $3.60 to place, and $2.20 to show. Storm the Hill brought back $6.80 to place and $3 to show, while Vasilika paid $2.10 to show.
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