Bella Chica the Turf Virgin Looks to Take Yellow Ribbon Handicap

Yellow Ribbon Handicap – Grade II
DMR Race #7 1 1/16m Turf Graded Stake
Purse $250.000 For Fillies And Mares Three Years Old And Upward.

It is not often that we get a handicap race that actually looks like a handicap with a decent spread in the weights but even though this one only has the five runners it achieves that. Here is how they line up:

1 The Great Enabler Wood Duck Stables Van Dyke D 118 —

Bought at auction for just over a $100.000 she has 36 races so wasn’t exactly a closed book and deserved that sort of price tag. She had a pretty good year in 2022 and started to look like a stakes sort but she had been struggling to settle on whether she was a sprinter or a router and that may have hindered her progress one way or the other. In truth the trip doesn’t mean much to most good horses at HRP so the trainer stuck to sprinting through 2023 and had some consistent success albeit at a lower level than this. The new owner however has decided she is a router and she showed that to be a good choice, if slightly inconsequential, by winning a decent allowance at WO first up. She again gets the ace draw so is being favored by the draw monster and gets a very decent weight which must put her in with a chance of going two from two for the new owner.

2 Shes One Of A Kind Mo Mentum Farm Cedillo A 119 —

Another mare that leaves nothing to the imagination she has raced 33 times and has been largely consistent in recent years. A clue, regular this year after a win in this race last year it is a bit baffling how she is carrying less weight than she did last year and if that little piece of information is a clue, she should be a shoo-in this year. In fairness to the handicapper that may just be a flawed program she doesn’t seem quite as good as she was last year and has been struggling to win as much as she used to recently. Drawn perfectly less weight than last year, she does seem to have a lot of ticks in boxes for this.

3 Gazing Angie Sim Speed Stable Ayuso A 121 —

Clear top weight she may be up against the handicapping Gods here, but her last two runs have been rather extraordinary after looking a light of former years before that. Taken from a claimer last year for just $30.000 it was clear her breeder thought that too, but her new owner has managed five wins from seven starts since that claim and really turned her around since bringing her to the turf. She won the Mint Julep Handicap two back but then put up a tremendous weight carrying performance to win the Anchorage Stakes under 128Lbs so today’s burden will seem like a featherweight to her.

4 Villeneuve Mo Mentum Farm Smith M E 119 —

Her last three efforts really show just how hard it is to read form at HRP these days. Beaten a long way in the Bewitch at grade three she then ran second in the grade one Gamely before a rather distant third in the RGD. She really has been the deepest of closers in her last three so the small field will suit today but even so her trainer will have to find a way to her a bit closer early in this race.

5 Bella Chica Mb Stables Maldonado E 117 —

A filly that ran in the BC last year with bottom weight today, only Mb Stables can work out how to get the highest money earner into a decent handicap with bottom weight. The reason for that bottom weight is the fact that this is her first race on turf but as we know that rarely matters at HRP and her works are certainly in the same ballpark as all the confirmed turf runners so we must assume as usual that the surface will not affect her. She has failed to win this year which is not unusual for a good three-year-old through the first part of her four-year-old campaign, but I can see that all changing today, and she will be my top choice.


I think the bottom weight and the wide gate speed push are all Bella Chica needs to get back to winning ways here. To be fair to the others they all have a chance with maybe The Great Enabler being the biggest danger.

Categories: Grade II, Races, STAKES ARTICLES

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