English group I winner Hibaayeb makes her United States debut for owner Godolphin Racing against eight filly and mare rivals in the $250,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes (gr. IT) at Oak Tree's Hollywood Park meet Oct. 2.
A 3-year-old daughter of Singspiel, she arrived in Southern California in search of firm turf, according to her connections, and cleared quarantine Sept. 29.
“She shipped well and arrived Monday,” said Claire Sparks, assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor. She was accompanied by exercise rider Jo Hunnam, both clad in Godolphin blue. Hibaayeb was flown from Amsterdam.
“She likes the fast ground,” said Sparks of the filly, winner of the Ribblesdale Stakes (Eng-II) at Ascot in June but unplaced in three subsequent starts on softer footing. “We’re hoping for a quick surface.”
With a record heat wave going on in Southern California this week, they are likely to get it. Hibayeeb has won two of 10 starts and earned $369,871. Her last eight outings have been in group I or II company. She drew the outside post in a field of nine and will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano.
“She will just have some nice easy canters up to the race,” said Sparks. “She’s fit. She galloped before we left.”
Far back in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I) Aug. 19 at York captured by the brilliant Midday, Hibaayeb has won two of 10 and earned $369,871. She broke her maiden in a group I as a 2-year-old, taking the Meon Valley Stud Fillies Mile by three-quarters of a length a year ago at Ascot.
The Yellow Ribbon, at 1 1/4 miles, qualifies the winner for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs Nov. 5. It is one of four grade I stakes on the Hollywood Park program and will go as eighth race at 4:50 p.m. (PDT). Other leading contenders are grade III winners Turning Top and Gypsy's Warning
Turning Top, who won the Redondo Beach and the 10-furlong Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IIIT) over the local turf course during the spring-summer meet, is coming off a fifth-place finish in Del Mar's John C. Mabee Stakes (gr. IIT) at nine furlongs Aug. 15.
Owned by Michael Tabor and trained by Simon Callaghan, the 4-year-old Irish bred daughter of Pivotal has won six of 16 starts and earned $176,943.
Gypsy’s Warning, a South African-bred 5-year-old mare owned by Team Valor International and Green Lantern Stables and trained by Graham Motion, will be making her first start in California.
Third in the Beverly D.(gr. IT) Aug. 21 at Arlington Park, the she won the Eatontown Handicap (gr. IIIT) over the Monmouth Park lawn in her U.S. debut less than three months earlier. A grade I winner in South Africa, Gypsy's Warning has won six of 14 races overall and banked $311,862.
Lilly Fa Pootz steps into grade I company after missing by a nose in the Mabee to Wasted Tears and subsequently finishing a close third in the Palomar Handicap (gr. IIT) Sept. 6. She has been no worse than third in 11 races since being claimed for $16,000 by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who co-owns the 5-year-old mare with Team Green, last Dec. 10 at Golden Gate. The 5-year-old daughter of Gilded Time has eight wins in 29 tries – four of the wins have come since the claim – and has earned $252,492.
The other 3-year-old in the lineup along with Hibaayeb is Go Forth North, who missed by a neck to Gotta Have Her at 11-1 odds in the Palomar. She won the one-mile Sandy Blue Handicap in a dead-heat at Del Mar prior to that.
Restless Soul, Princess Taylor, Princess Haya, and the shipper Sweet and Flawless are also entered.
$250,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes (gr. IT, Race 8, 4:50 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/4 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Lilly Fa Pootz (KY), J Talamo, 123, J Hollendorfer
2. Restless Soul (GB), P A Valenzuela, 123, B D Cecil
3. Gypsy's Warning (SAF), M E Smith, 123, H G Motion
4. Go Forth North (KY), O A Berrio, 120, A C Avila
5. Princess Taylor (GB), V Espinoza, 123, P Gallagher
6. Princess Haya (TX), C S Nakatani, 123, C O'Callaghan
7. Sweet and Flawless (KY), J Alvarado, 123, E R Reed
8. Turning Top (IRE), B Blanc, 123, S Callaghan
9. Hibaayeb (GB), R Bejarano, 120, S bin Suroor