Sent off as the betting favorite, Cambodia was an easy winner of the Yellow Ribbon Handicap (G2) at Del Mar. The multiple graded stakes-winning War Front mare also won the race in 2017.
Always well positioned by jockey Drayden Van Dyke, Cambodia took the lead entering the stretch and drew off to post an impressive 2 ½ length victory in the mile and one-sixteenth contest. The final time was 1:40.51, bettering her time of 1:40.86 a year ago.
“She put me up there in the race,” said Van Dyke. “She’s got that natural speed and she wants to be in the race. I was just biding my time. I had a couple to beat, but I had good aim. She likes this turf course, no doubt.”
Tom Proctor trains Cambodia, who races as a homebred for Don Robinson’s Winter Quarter Farm. Cambodia is out of the winning Smart Strike mare Sassifaction, and with her repeat victory in the Yellow Ribbon, she pushed her career earnings to $778,913.
“We really wanted her to do this,” said Robinson. “I’ve never had a horse like this, and we decided to run her at six because it’s such a thrill, and I feel like I’m vindicated. She’s run in two Grade 1s this year and they don’t give those away. She was close, so we thought maybe she’d make it out here. This is her spot and she loves it.”
War Front is the leading sire in North America this year by percentage of graded stakes horses and stakes horses from starters. In 2018, he has also sired Group 1 winners U S Navy Flag and Lancaster Bomber as well as additional graded stakes winners Dream Awhile, Fire Away, and Lull. He stands at Claiborne.