Favored Dubawi Heights gave jockey Joel Rosario his third grade I victory of the day at Santa Anita when she posted an impressive win in the $250,000 Yellow Ribbon Presented by Emirates Airline Stakes (gr. IT) Oct. 1 (VIDEO).
The British-bred Dubawai Heights was ideally positioned just off the pacesetter Turning Top, taking the lead at mid-stretch and opening up a clear advantage. She won under steady handling by three-quarters of a length as a streaking Cozi Rosie flew late for second. Harmonious was third. The final time for the 10-furlong distance on a firm turf course was 2:00.52.
Second in the Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) on a yielding Arlington Park course in her last start Aug. 14, Dubawi Heights earned her fourth win in five starts this year. The victory in the Yellow Ribbon, a Breeders' Cup Challenge event, will likely put the 4-year-old daughter of Dubawi in the starting gate for the $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT), trainer Simon Callaghan said afterward.
Rosario earlier won grade I races on the card with the 2-year-old Creative Cause in the Norfolk Stakes and aboard Zazu in the Lady's Secret Stakes.
Dubawi Heights is owned by a partnership that includes the trainer's father, Neville Callaghan, Clodagh McStay, and M.V. Magnier. Aston Mullins Stud bred the bay filly, who is out of the Suave Dancer mare Rosie's Posy.
“The race really went to plan," the younger Callaghan said. "There didn’t look to be too much speed in the race, and she’s the sort of filly that you can tactically put her anywhere; she can sit on the pace, or she can rate just in behind. It’s a perfect result, and we’re very happy.
“I think we’ll probably head toward the Breeders’ Cup. She’s improved with every race, and she’ll go there, I’m sure, with a great chance. The form stacks up good, the timing is right. It makes sense, I think, to go there.”
The Yellow Ribbon drew a well-matched field of nine fillies and mares, with Dubawi Heights sent off as the 2-1 favorite. After breaking on top, she settled just off the flanks of Turning Top on the pacesetter's outside and seemed well-poised to take the action to the front-runner at any point. Turning Top, leaving the rail, was able to carve pedestrian fractions of :24.14, :48.81, and 1:13.28 while leading Dubawi Heights and Malibu Pier, who was racing widest on the final turn.
Asking Dubawi Heights for a bit more, Rosario increased the pressure on a stubborn Turning Top, drawing even approaching mid-stretch and opening up quickly. Harmonious, ridden by Martin Garcia, made a good late run but was swallowed up by Cozi Rosie, who was reserved through the early going for Garrett Gomez. Cozie Rosie, still eighth at mid-stretch, ran out time, however, as Dubawi Heights reached the wire in measured style.
“I don’t think I’ve ever won three grade Is in one day," a pleased Rosario said afterward. "She gives you everything she has and she tries very hard. Every time she runs she gets better. Before, you had to ask her to be close to the pace and now, she does it on her own.”
Cozi Rosie, winner of the John C. Mabee Stakes (gr. IIT) at Del Mar Aug. 14, finished one length in front of Harmonious, a two-time grade I winner last year who is now winless in five starts in 2011. Turning Top, three-quarters of a length farther back, held on well for fourth.
It took Dubawi Heights nine starts to break her maiden in April at Santa Anita, but after doing so, she reeled off consecutive graded stakes wins in the Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT) and the Gamely Stakes (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park in addition to her runner-up effort in the Beverly D. In that race, she was forced to set the pace and was unable to hold off the European star Stacelita in the final furlong.
Dubawi Heights improved her career mark to 5-4-1 in 14 starts with earnings of $947,696 after collecting $150,000 for the Yellow Ribbon triumph.
She carried top weight of 124 pounds and paid $6.40, $3.40, $2.80. Cozi Rosie, who could've given Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Sadler a second grade I on the day after Zazu's victory in the Lady's Secret, returned $5 and $3 while rounding out a $24.40 exacta. Harmonious paid $2.80.
Sadler said he was happy with Cozi Rosie's effort.
"We got stopped on the turn a little bit and the pace was slow but she finished very fast so we thought she ran very well," said Sadler, who added that he hopes to take Cozi Rosie to the Breeders' Cup as well.