Voodoo Dancer seeks 10th victory in Yellow Ribbon.

Voodoo Dancer seeks 10th victory in Yellow Ribbon.

Benoit photos

Voodoo Dancer Challenges Banks Hill, Four Others in Yellow Ribbon

From track reports
Voodoo Dancer, a winner of nine of 15 career starts with earnings of $855,588, will join champion turf female of 2001 Banks Hill and triple grade I winner Golden Apples in Saturday's $500,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Oak Tree at Santa Anita.

"This is the toughest race in North America this year, even though it looks like it will be a short field," said Voodoo Dancer's trainer, Christophe Clement.

Voodoo Dancer, winner of the Palomar Handicap at Del Mar in her last start on Sept. 8, will attempt to win at a mile and a quarter, a distance not to her fancy.

"Her best distance is from a mile to a mile and-a-sixteenth," Clement said. "But she's doing great and we'll have to see if we can stretch her to a mile and a quarter. The reason we're coming to California is for the firm ground. We want to see if she can handle it and the distance."

Clement said Voodoo Dancer would leave from New York for California on Thursday. He was shopping for a rider, but said, "It most likely will be Gary Stevens. I have to talk it over with the owner."

In a bit of irony, Clement said Voodoo Dancer would be stabled at the barn of Ben Cecil, who trains Golden Apples.

Banks Hill, meanwhile, will run in the name of trainer Andre Fabre in the Yellow Ribbon, according to Cindy Niemetz, West Coast representative for the International Racing Bureau.

After that, Niemetz said, "a decision will be made by Juddmonte (owner Juddmonte Farms) in England as to the campaign after the Yellow Ribbon. Banks Hill will be staying at (trainer) Bobby Frankel's barn after the Yellow Ribbon."

As to whether Banks Hill would race again next year, Niemetz said, "They don't announce those plans until the end of the year." Banks Hill was due in California Wednesday night.

$500,000 Yellow Ribbon (gr. IT), 1 1/4 mile, Fillies & Mares
1. Noches de Rosa, Alex Solis
2. Nepenthe, Mike Smith
3. Golden Apples, Pat Valenzuela
4. Voodoo Dancer, Gary Stevens
5. Banks Hill, Corey Nakatani
6. Viernes, Jose Valdivia Jr.

All carry 123 pounds.