Aaron and Marie Jones' Riboletta won her fourth consecutive race Saturday at Del Mar, reeling in pacesetter Gourmet Girl before pulling away to win the $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (gr. II). Despite a slipped saddle under jockey Chris McCarron, Riboletta won by 1 1/2 lengths over Bordelaise, completing the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.06.
Over a fast track, Gourmet Girl sprinted to the early lead with Riboletta stalking in second place. Riboletta moved up to challenge on the backstretch, took a slim lead on the second turn, and kicked clear in the stretch for the victory. Excellent Meeting closed ground while wide on the final turn but flattened out after being fanned five wide into the stretch. Gourmet Girl held on for third, followed by Speaking of Time, Excellent Meeting, and Lovellon.
The victory is the fifth for the 5-year-old mare since she was switched to trainer Eduardo Inda at the beginning of the year. Riboletta's victories this year include three grade I wins: the Santa Margarita Handicap, the Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap, and the Vanity Handicap. She earned $180,000 for the win, her 11th from 25 career starts. Riboletta (Roi Normand--Joy Valley, by Ghadeer) was bred in Brazil by Haras Santa Ana do Rio Grande.
The odds-on favorite, Riboletta paid $2.80, $2.20, and $2.10. The $1 exacta returned $4.10. (Chart, Equibase