Graded stakes action kicked off last Saturday at Del Mar with a title defense by She’s Not Here in the Grade II, $200,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap. The 5-year-old mare captured this year’s edition by a neck over Fresh Feline (pictured), while favorite Nancy From Nairobi finished a half-length behind in third. The 5-year-old She’s Not Here covered the 1 1/16 miles on the grass in 1:42.70, and gave jockey Drayden Van Dyke his first graded stakes win at the track.
“I spoke to Phil Oliver (a trainer himself and husband of She’s Not Here’s trainer Vicki Oliver) on the phone about an hour before the race,” Van Dyke said. “He told me to get her out of there and see if I could lay fourth or fifth – then get her to relax. He said she had been training great, had a good kick, and liked the track. So I rode to orders, and it all worked out great. This place (Del Mar) is one of my favorite racetracks, so to win a graded race here is special.”
She’s Not Here is owned by G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and the St. George Farm Racing stable of Ian Banwell.
Also on Saturday’s card was the $77,900 Wickerr Stakes, won by Toowindytohaulrox.
Sunday’s stakes victors were Midnight Storm in the Grade II, $250,000 Eddie Read Stakes, and Barleysugar in the $85,425 Sandy Blue Handicap.
Among those expected to race during the next week at Del Mar is the nation’s top-ranked runner, California Chrome, who is entered in the Grade II, $200,000 San Diego Handicap on Saturday.