YELLOW RIBBON H. | PURSE: $150,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP | FILLIES AND MARES | GRADE 2 | 1 1/16 MILES (TURF)
Egg Drop held on to her first stakes victory when she nipped Appealing by a head in the $150,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap on the turf Sept. 2 at Del Mar, then survived a long stewards' inquiry into the final stages of the race.
Racing head-and-head on the outside, Egg Drop and Appealing came together in deep stretch to impede the fast-closing My Gi Gi, who took up sharply before recovering to finish third in the Yellow Ribbon, formerly the Palomar Handicap.
Stewards reviewed the incident for several minutes before deciding to make no change in the order of finish.
Martin Garcia, the winning pilot, said, "I didn't think I did anything [on Egg Drop]. I think it was more a case of [Appealing] coming out, not me. I think the stewards made a good decision."
Egg Drop, who attended a quick pace set by A Jealous Woman before taking over coming into the stretch, prevailed for Little Red Racing Feather racing partnership and trainer Mike Mitchell, Del Mar's all-time leader in victories with 475.
"If they would have taken us down it would have broken my heart," Mitchell said. "From the time I've had her I've been trying to win a stakes with her. And when we saw what she did on the grass [last two starts] we said, 'OK, no dirt, no synthetics, just grass from here on out.'"
In her first try at the 1 1/16-mile distance on grass, Egg Drop was timed in a strong 1:40.50 over a very firm course.
The striking 4-year-old gray/roan filly is by Alphabet Soup out of the Adhocracy mare Rehocracy, bred in Florida by Centaur Farms. She was a $12,000 Ocala Breeders' Sale Company purchase in August of 2010.
A Jealous Woman pulled her way to the front while pushed along by Egg Drop through quarter mile fractions of :22.35, :46.76, and 1:10.21. Quiet Oasis was also prominent early while stalking in third, with defending Yellow Ribbon winner Halo Dolly also rating well on the outside as the 9-5 favorite in the field of nine older fillies and mares.
Egg Drop soon took control with Halo Dolly ranging up in the stretch on the outside and the Irish-bred Appealing making a big move along the inside for Brice Blanc. Also closing quickly was Mi Gi Gi, who rallied from the rear of the field with Garrett Gomez, who opted to bring the filly between the two leaders before the hole vanished. Gomez pulled up abruptly on Mi Gi Gi as Egg Drop and Appealing continued to fight it out to the wire.
Gomez was surprised no change was made. "Wow," he remarked. "That's all I can say. If I don't get stopped, I win the race."
It was 1 ¼ lengths back to Mi Gi Gi in third, with 123-pound highweight Halo Dolly settling for fourth, a neck behind. Customer Base, Closing Range, Quiet Oasis, A Jealous Woman, and Royal Empress followed.
"I drifted out a little bit [on Appealing] at the end, but not enough to make a difference," Blanc said. "If anyone was at fault, it would have to be the winner. She came over and closed the gap on him [Gomez on My Gi Gi]."
Egg Drop had been off for nearly two months since her most recent start, a runner-up finish in the Royal Heroine Mile July 6 at Betfair Hollywood Park. A gem of consistency for Mitchell, she has won four of 10 starts with two seconds and two thirds while earning $254,020. In her only prior start at Del Mar, Egg Drop broke her maiden in her debut on the Polytrack in September 2011.
The winner carried 117 pounds and paid $8, $4.80, and $3.80 as the second choice. Appealing, a 34-1 shot from the Paddy Gallagher barn, returned $26 and $13 while rounding out a $240.40 exacta. Mi Gi Gi paid $5.20 to show.
In the Stars scratched.