Miss Serendipity, reunited with a confident Brice Blanc, roared down the center of the Del Mar turf course to capture the $200,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap (gr. IIT) Sept. 1 (VIDEO).
Blanc was at the controls two starts back when horse and rider combined to win the Gamely Stakes (gr. IT) May 26 for Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally at Santa Anita Park. But Blanc was sidelined with a shoulder injury as the Argentine-bred mare disappointed when finishing last in the John C. Mabee Stakes (gr. IIT) as the favorite over the Del Mar course Aug. 10.
Allowed to relax behind a moderate pace while racing off the rail, Blanc angled 9-2 shot Miss Serendipity to the far outside for clear sailing in the Yellow Ribbon, and she responded with a winning effort through the lane. Miss Serendipity swept past the rallying 9-5 favorite Parranda to score by 1 1/4 lengths in an excellent time of 1:40.98 over firm going.
McAnally won the Yellow Ribbon three times previously when it was known as the Palomar Handicap (1945-2011), his most recent win in the race coming in 1992 with Super Staff. His others victories came in 1978 with Drama Critic and in 1990 with Jabalina Brown.
The ride was the first for Blanc since returning from his injury, sustained in a fall on the turf course earlier in the meet, and the first victory of the summer season at Del Mar for McAnally.
"She's been training very well and Brice Blanc knows her and rides her well," McAnally said.
Blanc thanked McAnally and owner Matias Cavalieri for turning the 6-year-old Not For Sale mare back over to him.
"My first race back and it is very emotional for me," Blanc said. "Ron has been loyal to me the past two or three years. He's always there for me. So to be able to come back and ride a race like this for him and win it, you know how special that is. I love to win races for him."
A well-matched field of eight older fillies and mares contested the Yellow Ribbon. Irish-bred filly Need You Now set the pace as Cozze Up Lady and Wishing Gate, on her outside, stalked from about one to two lengths behind through fractions of :23.56, :47.54, and 1:11.15. Wishing Gate and Cozze Up Lady pounced on the leader leaving the far turn, but Parranda, looming on the outside for Elvis Trujillo was moving the best of three through the stretch.
Miss Serendipity, who started from the far outside post, fell back to last when steadied off heels leaving the final turn. But the big mare gathered her momentum at the top of the lane and drove past the leaders in deep stretch, drawing away quickly in the final jumps with an impressive turn of foot.
"I was watching Wishing Gate and Parranda all the way," said Blanc, adding that he did not want to get Miss Serendipity stopped in the drive for the wire. "I didn't want to be too far outside. I knew she was relaxing better lately. I was waiting on Parranda coming around the turn but she didn't have the same move today she had before. I just had to keep from going too wide. (Miss Serendipity) really came through for me again. She's awesome."
Parranda won a photo for second by a neck over Cozze Up Lady, who was ridden by Kent Desormeaux, with Stormy Lucy running on late for a minor piece a nose farther back in fourth.
Anselmo Emilio Cavalieri bred Miss Serendipity, who is out of the Candy Stripes mare Marca Registrada. The dark bay mare improved her career line to 7-6-3 in 26 races with $493,608 in earnings. She has two wins and two placings in seven United States starts since transferring to McAnally's care from Argentina.
Shouldering top weight of 122 pounds, she paid $11.20, $5.20, and $3.40 as the slight second choice. Multiple graded stakes winner Parranda, moved back to turf by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer following a third-place finish in the Clement L. Hirsch (gr. I) Aug. 2 on Polytrack, responded with another strong effort and paid $3.60 and $2.60. The exacta was worth $36. Cozze Up Lady paid $3.60.
Stormy Lucy was followed by Heat Du Jour, Wishing Gate, Need You Now, and Bunairgead. Winning Rhythm scratched.