She’s Not Here and jockey Drayden Van Dyke, outside, overpower Fresh Feline (Victor Espinoza), inside, to win the Grade II, $ 200,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap
St. George Farm Racing and G. Watts Humphrey’s She’s Not Here may have won last year’s running of the G2 Yellow Ribbon at Del Mar, but she hadn’t so much as hit the board since. That didn’t stop the 5-year-old daughter of Street Cry from springing the surprise on Saturday evening, crossing the wire a neck in front. She’s Not Here, trained to the victory by Victoria Oliver, covered 1 1/16 miles over the firm turf in 1:42.70 under Drayden Van Dyke.
“I thought Drayden (Van Dyke) had her in good position down the back stretch, and when he asked her, she really responded,” said Oliver. “She runs well on that turf course. I don’t know exactly why, maybe she just likes it because it’s a little more firm than most. We’ll bring her back to Kentucky, there’s not another race for her out there. But we’re sending some other horses out to run at the meeting.”
She’s Not Here broke well under Van Dyke, but Her Emmynency was urged to take the lead for the early going. Finest City and Keri Belle passed She’s Not Here, allowing the mare to drop in behind them and stalk the steady early pace. Her Emmynency led through fractions of :24.21 and :48.74, but entering the second turn Prize Exhibit made a premature move three-wide, coercing Keri Belle to move along with her on the inside. Her Emmynency dropped back as those two turned for home together, but She’s Not Here, well-rated under Van Dyke, had more left in the tank.
She’s Not Here stormed up the center of the track to take the lead, holding as much as a length’s advantage with a sixteenth of a mile to run, and was just able to hold off the late charge of Fresh Feline to win by a neck. Nancy From Nairobi closed from the rear of the field to wind up third, beaten less than a length, and Finest City stormed up the rail to be fourth.
“I spoke to Phil Oliver (a trainer himself and husband of She’s Not Here’s trainer Vicki Oliver) on the phone about an hour before the race,” said Van Dyke. “He told me to get her out of there and see if I could lay fourth or fifth – then get her to relax. He said she had been training great, had a good kick and liked the track. So I rode to orders and it all worked out great. This place (Del Mar) is one of my favorite racetracks, so to win a graded race here is special.”
Bred in Kentucky by Hermitage Farm and Darley, She’s Not Here was a $ 190,000 Keeneland September Yearling purchase. Since then, the mare has compiled a record of six wins from 22 starts, with earnings of just over $ 400,000.
Watch the race replay here:
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