Jockey Patrick Valenzuela guided Tates Creek through a narrow opening in the stretch and the multiple graded stakes winner did the rest, winning the $500,000 Yellow Ribbon (gr. IT) by three-quarters of a length over fast-closing Musical Chimes.
The victory, the first for the well regarded Tates Creek at the 1 1/4-mile distance, was the 22nd grade I win of the year for trainer Bobby Frankel, tying him with D. Wayne Lukas' 1987 record with two months left in the 2003 season.
"Who said she couldn't get a mile and a quarter," Valenzuela asked. "She ran a great race, and this is back-to-back Yellow Ribbons for me. I'm just thankful I made the right decision at Del Mar when I took Tates Creek instead of Golden Apples, who is now retired and will be a great broodmare. It worked out this time. I stuck with a top-notch horse and have been able to stick with her."
Frankel passed last year's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) with Tates Creek, who is owned by Juddmonte Farms. Humberto Ascanio, Frankel's Southern California lead assistant, said he thinks Tates Creek would go this time around.
"It all depends on what Bobby says. and how she comes out of the race," he said. "It's still a month away."
The 5-year-old Rahy mare atoned for a loss in her most recent start as the 11-10 favorite in the John C. Mabee (gr. IT) at Del Mar July 26. She covered the 10 furlongs in 2:00 3/5 on a firm turf course. Crazy Ensign, who chased pacesetter Cassis into the stretch before taking the lead, held on for third over Magic Mission.
Valenzuela found himself crying out for room while stuck behind the front-runners into the stretch and blocked to her outside by Adalgisa. When Cassis began to fold, Valenzuela burst between her and Crazy Ensign and quickly took command. Musical Chimes, with a big outside move under Gary Stevens, edged Crazy Ensign and jockey Alex Solis by a neck.
"I could have gone anywhere I wanted to and it looked like the leader (Cassis) was tiring, so I stayed inside," Valenzuela said. "Everyone shifted out a little bit and I went between horses. Then Alex's horse (Crazy Ensign) shifted in a little bit and pushed me into Mike Smith's horse (Cassis). Mike apparently said that his horse was tiring at the time and that I was just riding my race. I just brushed his horse."
An objection into the stretch run was lodged, but stewards made no change in the order of finish.
Tates Creek has won three of her four starts this year with earnings of more than $700,000. She is 11-3-0 in 16 career starts and has won seven of her last nine outings. She boasts a career bankroll of $1,471,674 after earning $300,000 Sunday.
The 9-10 favorite in the field of eight, the winner returned $3.80, $2.40 and $2.10. Musical Chimes, trained by Neil Drysdale subbing for Andre Fabre, returned $3 and $2.20. Crazy Ensign's show was worth $2.40. The $2 exacta paid $11.40.
''She wandered just a bit on me through the stretch," Stevens said of Musical Chimes. "She was just a little green. I had to take hold of her twice and it might have cost me the win."
"I thought Musical Chimes ran a lovely race," Drysdale said. "I think off this race justifies a try at the Breeders' Cup (Filly & Mare Turf)."