Spanish Fern Wins Yellow Ribbon
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ Spanish Fern went four wide into the stretch and took the lead midway to the wire to win Saturday’s $500,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths over Caffe Latte.
Ridden for the first time by Chris McCarron, Spanish Fern covered 1 1/4 miles on the turf in 1:59 2-5 and paid $7.40, $4.20 and $3.80 as the second wagering choice of 37,292 fans at Santa Anita. The winner carried 123 pounds.
Irish-bred Caffe Latte, ridden by Corey Nakatani, returned $6.40 and $5, while Shabby Chic, under Chris Antley, was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third and paid $6.80 to show.
Favored Fiji finished sixth out of seven horses in her first race since winning the Yellow Ribbon by two lengths last year. She had been out of action since then with a variety of minor ailments.
Fiji was between horses in midstretch, but couldn’t muster a late kick under Jerry Bailey, who came in from New York for the ride.
Earlier this year, Spanish Fern wasn’t in the best shape, either. She had quarter cracks and then got sick on trainer Robert Frankel.
McCarron got the mount since Kent Desormeaux, her previous rider, is recovering from a broken wrist. Alex Solis, who rode Spanish Fern three times before Desormeaux, was in Louisiana on Saturday where he won the Super Derby on Ecton Park.
Trainer Neil Drysdale said he would run Fiji at the same distance in the $500,000 Vinery First Lady at Keeneland on Oct. 15. Drysdale said he would see how the mare does before committing to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf next month at Gulfstream.
A rematch between Fiji and Spanish Fern could occur in either or both races. Frankel has never won a Breeders’ Cup race.
The victory, worth $300,000, increased Spanish Fern’s career earnings to $437,321, with five victories in 10 starts. Frankel also won the Yellow Ribbon in 1993 with Possibly Perfect.