Jockey Drayden Van Dyke celebrates his win aboard Cambodia in the Yellow Ribbon Handicap

Jockey Drayden Van Dyke celebrates his win aboard Cambodia in the Yellow Ribbon Handicap

Benoit Photo

Cambodia Ships in, Takes Yellow Ribbon

A wide trip could not stop the 5-year-old daughter of War Front.

A wide trip throughout did not hamper East Coast invader Cambodia Aug. 5 in the $200,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap (G2T) at Del Mar.

Never less than three wide in both turns of the 1 1/16-mile test, Winter Quarter Farm's homebred 5-year-old War Front  mare stalked the early pace in fifth, advanced in the final bend, put away favored Avenge easily at the top of the stretch, and held off a late charge from longshots Pretty Girl (ARG) and Amboseli to clinch her second graded win, by three-quarters of a length. 

Video: Yellow Ribbon H. (G2T)

The Tom Proctor trainee, who broke through in the Gallorette Stakes (G3T) May 20 at Pimlico Race Course, came in third last time out in the Dr. James Penny Memorial Stakes (G3T) at Parx Racing, but was full of run in the Yellow Ribbon. She finished off the distance in 1:40.86 under jockey Drayden Van Dyke.

"The key for her is to get her to relax," Van Dyke said. "Today she did it beautifully—so different than when I worked her (when) she's all keyed up. But she was just fine today. Could she run on? If she relaxes, I think she can do anything."

Juno sprinted to the lead to set the pace with fractions of :23.53, :47.61, and 1:11.45 through six furlongs, while Avenge settled into striking position in second. The grade 1 winner and 4-5 favorite put a head in front of Juno in the final turn, but lacked a finishing kick in the stretch. Avenge, last year's Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1T) and John C. Mabee Stakes (G2T) winner, came in sixth, only a half-length ahead of last-place finisher Juno.

"She was right there, then she just flattened out," said Avenge's jockey, Flavien Prat.

Bred in Kentucky, Cambodia is out of the Smart Strike mare Sassifaction, Cambodia now has a 5-0-5 record from 12 starts and $323,746 in earnings.

The Yellow Ribbon was Proctor's 14th stakes win at Del Mar, but just his second graded win overall since 2015. Cambodia provided both.

"I've had this filly's entire family. It's the ultimate breeder's reward," said owner and breeder Don Robinson. "I've never had a horse of my own of this quality. Thank you Tom Proctor. He's the horseman's horseman and this is just a thrill. This is the biggest thrill of my life.

"I came here in 1966 and walked hots for Charlie Whittingham. I came back when Zenyatta won the Clement Hirsch. This is only my third visit and it's an amazing thrill to come here and win this race."