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Yellow Ribbon Handicap
||Sassy Little Lila
||Tiago Josue Pereira
||Storm the Hill
||Drayden Van Dyke
Sophie P will carry the highest weight on Saturday at 122 pounds in the 65th running of the Grade 2 $200,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap at Del Mar. Sophie P is coming off a disappointing 6th in the Wilshire. Horses who could challenge Sophie P are Fahan Mura, who won the Osunitas Stakes last month and eastern invader Hallie Belle.
The Yellow Ribbon Handicap is a Grade II turf race held at a mile and a sixteenth for fillies and mares, ages three and up. It previously was known as the Palomar Handicap. Cambodia will be trying to join two other horses who have won this race twice, Tranquility Lake in 2000 and 2001 and She’s Not Here in 2015 and 2016.
Cambodia finished a solid third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Del Mar. The horse is ridden by Drayden Van Dyke who is having an excellent season at Del Mar. He had nine wins in the first ten days of racing, second behind Flavien Prat who had 10 wins. Van Dyke won the Eclipse Award as the outstanding apprentice in 2014. He rode Triple Crown winner Justify in the horse’s maiden win before Mike Smith took over. Van Dyke would like to win the rider’s title at the Del Mar summer meet but he would also like to have a chance at winning Grade 1 races.
“Shipping out of town for the important races, you have to do it,” Van Dyke said to the media. “Hopefully, you don’t miss too many winners. If you can win a Grade 1 or win a few maiden races, I’d rather have the Grade 1.”
Yellow Ribbon Handicap Picks
This is a wide open feature race on Saturday with eight of the 12 horses listed at odds of 10-1 or less. The lukewarm morning line favorite is Cambodia at odds of 7-2. The problem with backing Cambodia at those odds is that the horse has not looked that great recently, finishing out of the money in her last three races. The second choice in the betting, Storm the Hill doesn’t inspire much confidence either. There could be a little bit of value on Fahan Mura at odds of 5-1. I am looking for even more value though, so I will go with Sophie P. I expect her to bounce back from poor effort in the Wilshire. Sophie P has shown ability in the past and it seems like she has one good race and then one bad one. She has alternated wins and sixth place finishes in each of her last four races. If that form continues she will be the winner on Saturday.
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