Winter Quarter Farm's Cambodia had to dig in for the final 100 yards of Saturday's G2 Yellow Ribbon Handicap, but was able to hold off the fast-closing Pretty Girl by three-quarters of a length to earn her second graded stakes victory. Guided by Drayden Van Dyke for trainer Tom Proctor, the 5-year-old daughter of War Front covered 1 1/16 miles over Del Mar's firm turf in 1:40.86.
“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; she's all keyed up. But she was just fine today. Could she run on? If she relaxes, I think she can do anything. A very good race for her today.”
Juno came out confidently on the lead, and was tracked from the outside by Avenge as Frenzified settled on that one's inside against the rail. The next pair in the well-bunched group was Hillhouse High inside of Cambodia, tracking the early pace of :23.53 and :47.61 set by Juno. Pretty Girl trailed the bunched up group of five about three lengths behind, and it was another two lengths back to Amboseli at the rear of the field.
Rounding the far turn, Avenge made her bid against Juno to join her in the fight for the lead. Van Dyke confidently took Cambodia three-wide to join the battle. Shaking clear of Avenge in mid-stretch, Cambodia then had to fend off challengers on her outside in the final sixteenth of a mile when both Pretty Girl and Amboseli came rolling down the center of the course. The mare had enough left to fight on through the wire, crossing the line three-quarters of a length in front of Pretty Girl. Amboseli was just nosed out in third, and Hillhouse High finished fourth.
Bred in Kentucky by Don Robinson and Maverick Productions, Cambodia captured her first graded stakes victory in May of her 5-year-old season, taking the G3 Gallorette on the Preakness undercard. She came up a bit short in the G3 Dr. James Penny Memorial next out, finishing third, but rebounded in a big way to win the Yellow Ribbon in her first start on the west coast. Overall, Cambodia boasts a record of five wins and five thirds from 12 starts, with earnings of over $320,000.
“I've had this filly's entire family, it's the ultimate breeder's reward,” gushed owner/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.”
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