With a name change of one stakes race and the introduction of two new ones, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club will be acknowledging, and solidifying, a partnership with the Oak Tree Racing Association in the final two days of the meeting on Monday and Wednesday.
On Labor Day, the featured event is the Grade II $250,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap. Called the Palomar Handicap from 1945-2011, the 1 1/16th-mile grass event for older fillies and mares takes over the moniker of a 1 1/4-mile turf event run at the fall meeting by the Oak Tree Association during its 41-year tenure of leasing the Santa Anita facility for a fall meeting.
Three races earlier on the Monday program is the Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf, a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. On the closing day program for Wednesday, September 5, is the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf, a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. The Oak Tree Racing Association contributed $50,000 to the purse for the Yellow Ribbon and $100,000 each to fund the new juvenile turf events.
Del Mar racing secretary Tom Robbins was the catalyst for the DMTC/Oak Tree collaboration on one renamed and two new races. Heads of both organizations were on board from the inception.
“I thought it was very generous of Del Mar to do that,” said Sherwood Chillingworth, a vice president of the Oak Tree Racing Association. “The Del Mar people have been interwoven with us through the years, and we were delighted we were asked.”
“Oak Tree and Del Mar are fairly similar in that we are not-for-profit, and I thought it would be fitting that we have some kind of relationship and this is what we came up with,” said Joe Harper, DMTC President, CEO and Director. “It’s a great way of keeping the great name of Oak Tree alive and recognizing the contributions they’ve made over more than 40 years of their existence.”
The Yellow Ribbon drew a field of nine. The 1-2-3 finishers in the Grade II, $250,000 John C. Mabee Stakes on August 12 -- City to City, All Star Heart and Go Forth North – are all entered with All Star Heart the 5-2 morning line favorite and defending Palomar champion City to City the 3-1 co-second choice. The 1-2 finishers from the Osunitas Stakes on July 21, Broken Dreams (8-1) and beaten Osunitas favorite Byrony (3-1), are also entered.
Trainers Jerry Hollendorfer and Tom Proctor will have two representatives each. Hollendorfer will saddle City to City and Halo Dolly (6-1), winner of the Solana Beach Handicap at a mile on turf on August 19.
“They’re consistent fillies,” Hollendorfer said. “City to City is coming off of a win and we’re looking for her to run real well. We’re looking to get Halo Dolly to route in a graded stakes race, which is a big step up for her.”
In addition to Broken Dreams, Proctor will saddle Vivo Per Lei (20-1), a daughter of Empire Maker shipped west after a fifth-place finish in a race at Saratoga where she was trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott.
“The one filly that just came in (Vivo Per Lei) I don’t know much about,” Proctor said. “She’s got some ability, but it might be a step up for her. It’s a step up for Broken Dreams too, but there’s not a lot of places for her to run right now. We’re looking forward to her running well, but whether or not she can win—we’ll see.”
Both Hollendorfer and Proctor have notched two stakes victories each at the meeting. Hollendorfer will have two representatives in the Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf, Proctor one. Hollendorfer has one in the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf.
“It’s been good a good meeting already,” Proctor said. “Everybody tells me, ‘If we could just win one more race.’ I say, we’ve had a pretty good meet anyway. We’ve had a good meet one way or another.”