She's Not Here defended her title in the $200,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap (gr. IIT) July 16, the first graded stakes at Del Mar's summer meeting.
The 5-year-old Street Cry mare, trained by Victoria Oliver for G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and St. George Farm Racing, last won in the 2015 Yellow Ribbon in September (Del Mar altered its stakes schedule this year), but went off at 9-1 Saturday in large part because she had not finished better than sixth in five starts since. She now has three wins from four starts over the Del Mar grass.
In Saturday's 1 1/16-mile test, She's Not Here got a seemingly perfect setup as the field entered the final turn, when Prize Exhibit rushed up on the outside late in the backstretch to force front-runners Her Emmynency and Keri Belle to quicken while She's Not Here raced in a perfect stalking position in fourth.
With a three-wide rally, She's Not Here took command about a furlong from the wire and held off a late closing drive from longshot Fresh Feline to win by a neck. Favored Nancy From Nairobi closed wide from last to finish third, a half-length back.
Grade I winner Her Emmynency got out to an easy lead exiting Del Mar's infield chute and set fractions of :24.21, :48.74 and 1:12.32 through six furlongs, but tired harshly after the pace quickened and finished last. The winner finished off the 1 1/16 miles under first-time rider Drayden Van Dyke in 1:42.70.
"I thought Drayden had her in good position down the backstretch, and when he asked her, she really responded," Oliver said. "She runs well on that turf course. I don't know exactly why, Maybe she just likes it because it's a little more firm than most."
The winner paid $20.40, $10.20, and $6.60 across the board. Fresh Feline brought $19.40 and $6.60, and Nancy From Nairobi brought $3.20 to show.
Finest City, in her first start at two turns on turf, finished well despite trouble in the stretch to come in fourth, followed by Queen of The Sand, Keri Belle, Prize Exhibit, and Her Emmynency. Majestic Heat was scratched.