Hibaayeb Takes U.S. Bow in Yellow Ribbon

Hibaayeb Takes U.S. Bow in Yellow Ribbon
Photo: Benoitphoto.com
Hibaayeb takes the prize in the Yellow Ribbon Stakes.
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Hibaayeb, making her United States debut for Godolphin Racing, outfought Turning Top in the final furlong to win Oak Tree's $250,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes (gr. IT) (VIDEO) at Hollywood Park Oct. 2.

Forwardly placed by jockey Rafael Bejarano, Hibaayeb drew even on the outside near mid-stretch with Turning Top, between horses, and Gypsy's Warning, at the rail, and proved best over the firm turf course.

Hibaayeb, a 3-year-old daughter of Singspiel--Lady Zonda, by Lion Cavern, earned a berth in the $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs Nov. 5.

The final time for the 1 1/4-mile event for fillies and mares was 2:00.44.

A group I winner as a 2-year-old at Ascot last year, the British-bred Hibaayeb captured the Ribblesdale Stakes (Eng-II) at the same track June 17. But she failed to win in her next three starts. She was distanced in her last try before the Yellow Ribbon, the Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I) at York Aug. 19, by the powerful filly Midday, prompting her connections to transfer her to the States for firm ground. Hibaayeb also raced with Salix (formerly known as Lasix) for the first time in the Yellow Ribbon.

Gypsy's Warning held just a head advantage over Turning Top after the two vied through opening fractions of :24.49, :48.55, and 1:12.89. By the quarter pole, Hibaayeb, fourth early, had moved up to third on the outside, just a length behind Turning Top and Gypsy's Warning, who were still separated by a head. Hibaayeb gradually wore the other two down, inching away late after some urging from Bejarano.

Bejarano said Hibaayeb broke a little tardily and he had to ease her into position slightly off the leaders on the outside.

"At the three-eighths I knew I had a lot of horse and I just let her go," said Bejarano, who had been dumped by his mount in the Norfolk Stakes (gr. I) two races earlier. "It was a perfect trip and I had a lot of confidence."

Turning Top, ridden by Brice Blance, finished a half-length better than 2-1 favorite Gypsy's Warning and Mike Smith.

"She really likes this course and it took a pretty nice filly to beat her," Blanc said.

Hibaayeb, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, improved her record to 3-2-2 in 11 starts and raised her earnings to $519,871. She earned $150,000 for the Yellow Ribbon victory.

“This is brilliant, absolutely," said Claire Sparkes, assistant to bin Suroor. "I was very happy with that position for her (with three eighths of a mile to go), really, because she stays a mile and half. She had a great position throughout, and she just keeps staying on, which she did today. She just loves that ground.

“She doesn’t look like she’d want fast ground, but she does go well on it. We’ve been very happy with how she’s been since she shipped here.”

Rabbah Bloodstock bred the winning dark bay or brown filly.

Sent off as the second choice in the field of nine, Hibaayeb received a three-pound weight advantage (120) as a 3-year-old and paid $8.60, $5, and $3.40. Michael Tabor's Irish-bred Turning Top, who had a four-race win streak earlier this year for trainer Simon Callaghan, returned $5.60 and $3.40 while completing a $53.60 exacta. South African-bred Gypsy's Warning, third last time out in the Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT), was $2.20 to show.

Sweet and Flawless rallied from far back to finish fourth. She was followed by Restless Soul, Princess Taylor, Princess Haya, Go Forth North, and Lilly Fa Pootz.
 

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