09/01/2012 1:25PM

Del Mar: City to City brings gutsy style to Yellow Ribbon

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Benoit & Associates
City to City (left), with Corey Nakatani up, wins the John Mabee by a nose over All Star Heart.

DEL MAR, Calif. – By just about all rights, City to City shouldn’t even be racing. She suffered a serious injury to her right front ankle during a workout here at Del Mar two years ago, and Jerry Hollendorfer, her trainer and co-owner, thought her career was over.

But surgery performed by Dr. Wayne McIlwraith and extensive rehabilitation done in Washington state at the Pegasus Training Center of co-owner Mark DeDomenico put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

And in one of those delicious ironies of racing, it is Del Mar where City to City has shined brightest. She has raced on the turf here four times, never has finished out of the money, and has won twice. Those victories include last year’s Palomar Handicap, which this year is known as the Yellow Ribbon. City to City will defend her title on Monday in the Grade 2, $250,000 grass race for older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles.

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“She’s certainly one of the barn favorites,” Hollendorfer said Saturday morning. “Everybody likes her. She’s a special filly. She’s brought a lot of wins and money to the barn.”

City to City, 5, has won eight times in 29 starts and has earned $679,726, with more than $420,000 of that coming since her injury.

“For a filly like her to come back from a serious ankle injury is truly admirable,” Hollendorfer said. “She’s ultra-consistent. She does her best running here, and we think she’s going to come back with another good effort.”

City to City comes off a nose victory over All Star Heart in the John Mabee Stakes on Aug. 12. All Star Heart would be one of the main threats to City to City in the Yellow Ribbon, but trainer Ron McAnally on Saturday morning said All Star Heart may await the Grade 2, $300,000 Canadian Stakes on Sept. 16 at Woodbine, which is near the Toronto home of owner Gerald Gibbs.

The absence of All Star Heart would give Hollendorfer a terrific chance to run one-two in this race, as he also will send out Halo Dolly, who has won 12 of 21 starts and comes off a victory over this course against California-breds in the Solana Beach Handicap on Aug. 19.

Trainer Tom Proctor also has two in the Yellow Ribbon, including Broken Dreams, who scored a front-running win over Yellow Ribbon entrant Byrony, with Halo Dolly third, in the Osunitas Stakes on July 21.

Proctor also recently picked up Vivo Per Lei, whose only win in five starts this year came against a second-level allowance field at Churchill Downs. This will be her first start on this circuit.

Byrony won twice before her narrow loss in the Osunitas, and figures to be a major player in this spot.

Go Forth North was third behind City to City and All Star Heart in the Mabee. This is her third straight appearance in this race. She was second in the Palomar in 2010, and third last year.

Camelia Rose, winless in five starts in this country since being imported from her native France, was a narrow loser against a second-level allowance field last time out.

Cosset, a $10,000 claim in March, was second in a first-level allowance turf sprint on Aug. 1 in her first start in four months.

The Yellow Ribbon had been the name of the championship grass race for older females at Santa Anita’s Oak Tree meeting, but with Oak Tree now out at Santa Anita, Del Mar chose to rename the Palomar.