The Grade 2, $250,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap at Del Mar is the former Palomar Handicap and should not to be confused with the Grade 1 event at Santa Anita, which has been renamed the Rodeo Drive and will be held on September 29. Monday's Yellow Ribbon at 1 1/16 miles on turf will bring together a solid field of nine fillies and mares, including the top three finishers from the Grade 2 John C. Mabee at Del Mar earlier in the meet.
City to City showed her affinity for the seaside course with a nose win in the Mabee and the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained mare will make a title defense Monday, winning last year's Palomar by nearly a lengths. The five-year-old mare has also placed in her other two stakes appearances on the local turf and owns a 3-2-0-1 mark at the distance. Regular rider Corey Nakatani will guide the late runner.
Mabee runner-up All Star Heart merits serious respect. An allowance scorer at Del Mar last year, the Grade 2-winning mare seldom runs a bad one for Ron McAnally and jockey Brice Blanc will have plenty of options aboard the stalker from the far outside post. Go Forth North weakened slightly to third after setting the pace in the Mabee and will attempt to revenge a runner-up placing in this event last year. The A.C. Avila trainee could revert to rating tactics beneath David Flores, but she figures to be up close early from post 8.
Broken Dreams, Byrony and Halo Dolly, the respective top three finishers in the July 21 Osunitas at Del Mar, are all entered in the Yellow Ribbon, and Halo Dolly came back to capture the August 19 Solano Beach Stakes 15 days ago.
Strong Wind, a 4 1/4-length winner of the August 1 Graduation Stakes over the Polytrack, is the one to beat in the six-furlong I'm Smokin. Kevin Krigger rides the Steve Knapp pupil. The six-horse field also includes a pair of maiden winners from the barn of John Sadler, Ballard Ruler and Life a Riley.
Speedinthrucity, who is cross-entered to Saturday's Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante, is the likely favorite if her connections opt for the Juvenile Fillies Turf. The Peter Miller charge exits a rallying second to Executiveprivilege in the Grade 3 Sorrento on August 8. Twelve fillies, including a pair of also-eligibles, were entered for the one-mile turf affair.