09/03/2013 2:50PM

Del Mar: Matriarch late-year goal for Egg Drop

Shigeki Kikkawa
Egg Drop (left) beats Appealing by a head, then both horses survived an inquiry to maintain their positions in the Yellow Ribbon Handicap.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – Egg Drop, who survived a spirited stretch run and a stewards’ inquiry to win the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon Handicap on Monday at Del Mar, emerged from the race in good condition and will be pointed to the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park as a year-end goal, with an intermediate stop at Santa Anita’s fall meeting, according to Phil D’Amato, assistant to Egg Drop’s trainer, Mike Mitchell.

“She thrives when we space her races out,” D’Amato said Tuesday morning at Mitchell’s Del Mar barn. “She trains so willingly, it’s not like you need to run her once a month to get her fit.”

Egg Drop came into the Yellow Ribbon without a race in two months. It will be another two months until she runs again, according to D’Amato, who said Mitchell’s plan was to prep Egg Drop for the Matriarch in the Grade 2, $150,000 Goldikova Stakes on Nov. 3, closing day of Santa Anita’s upcoming fall meeting.

Both the Goldikova and the Matriarch, a $250,000 race on Dec. 1, are at one mile on turf.

Egg Drop emerged the winner of the Yellow Ribbon following a lengthy inquiry into an incident in deep stretch of the 1 1/16-mile grass race.

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Egg Drop was first under the wire by a head over Appealing, but third-place My Gi Gi, who wound up 1 1/2 lengths behind Appealing, took up between those two nearing the wire. It was a challenging sequence to evaluate, because Egg Drop appeared to be coming in slightly and Appealing appeared to be coming out slightly. The specter of a double disqualification certainly loomed.

The stewards decided unanimously that My Gi Gi’s finish position was not compromised by the incident.

“If they’d have taken her down, it would have broken my heart,” said Mitchell, who trains Egg Drop for the Little Red Feather ownership group. “This was such a big race for us. From the first time I ran her I thought she could win a stake for us.”

Martin Garcia rode Egg Drop. He said he thought Appealing, ridden by Brice Blanc, was at fault, if anyone. Blanc said he thought it was Garcia and Egg Drop, if anyone.

Garrett Gomez, who rode My Gi Gi, did not agree with the decision, telling trainer Pete Eurton as he watched a head-on view of the stretch, “I’m gonna beat both of them.”

Halo Dolly, the 9-5 favorite, finished fourth in her quest to win the Yellow Ribbon for the second straight year.

Breeders’ Cup goal for Clenor

Clenor, who effortlessly cruised to victory in the Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf on Monday, will be pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in early November and is likely to tune up for that race in the $100,000 Surfer Girl Stakes at Santa Anita’s fall meeting on Oct. 6, Leandro Mora, the top assistant to trainer Doug O’Neill, said Tuesday morning.

“We’re thrilled to have her,” Mora said. “Now she’s got a stakes win under her belt. She came out of it good.”

Clenor romped by 3 1/4 lengths in the Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf, but the margin easily could have been more than twice that had jockey Rafael Bejarano desired. Clenor settled well behind a hot pace in the one-mile grass race, easily moved into contention on the turn, patiently sat behind the leaders until turning into the stretch, then breezed past them with Bejarano looking like he was out for a morning drill.

It was the second straight win here for Clenor since being imported from her native Ireland. She beat maidens earlier in the meet.

“She ran well in that first one here, but she ran much, much better this time,” Bejarano said.

Clenor, a daughter of Oratorio, was purchased privately following three losses, including a third-place finish in a Group 3 stakes at The Curragh. In both her starts in this country, she has used Lasix, which is not permitted for 2-year-old races at this year’s Breeders’ Cup.

“What a filly, so exciting to see her run the way she does,” O’Neill said. “As long as she stays healthy, she’s Breeders’ Cup bound.”