Riboletta Wins Third Straight

Aaron and Marie Jones' Riboletta won her third straight graded stakes, cruising home a 5 1/2-length winner in the $300,000 Vanity Handicap (gr. I) Sunday at Hollywood Park. With Chris McCarron in the irons, the Brazilian-bred completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.54 over a fast track.

Speaking of Time closed for second, 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Excellent Meeting. Bordelaise finished fourth, followed by Cookin Vickie and Gleefully.

Riboletta ran in second-place early on through fractions of :24.20 and :47.86, with Cookin Vickie setting the pace to her inside, and Excellent Meeting tracking in third. As they rounded the turn, Excellent Meeting moved up to challenge Riboletta, who had gained the lead after six furlongs in 1:11.68. Riboletta shrugged off the challenge and stretched her lead to the wire under a hand ride.

"She was good and relaxed, and then when Excellent Meeting came up on my outside on the middle of the turn, my mare really started pulling hard," said McCarron. "From there she was obviously the best horse in the race."

Riboletta swept the top distaff races of Hollywood Park's spring/summer meet, winning the Hawthorne Handicap (gr. II) and the Milady Handicap prior to her Vanity win. Only three other horses, Cascapedia (1977), Bayakoa (1989), and Brought To Mind (1991) had previously accomplished the feat.

Five-year-old Riboletta (Roi Normand--Joy Valley, by Ghadeer) was bed by Haras Santa Ana do Rio Grande and is trained by Eduardo Inda. She won the Santa Margarita Handicap (gr. I) over a sloppy Santa Anita track in March, beating Bordelaise by three lengths. As a 3-year-old in Brazil, she won the Grande Premio Diana--Brazilian Oaks--(Brz-I), a 1 1/4-mile race on turf.

Riboletta earned $180,000 for the victory, part of which may be used to pay a supplemental fee of $400,000 to enter her in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I).

As the favorite, Riboletta paid $3.20, $2.80, and $2.10. The $1 exacta returned $16.80. (Chart, Equibase)