09/04/2012 3:12PM

Del Mar: Yellow Ribbon win opens new avenues for Halo Dolly

Shigeki Kikkawa
Halo Dolly could tackle Grade 1 company in the Rodeo Drive or go back to facing California-breds in the California Cup Distaff.

DEL MAR, Calif. – After Halo Dolly was defeated in the Osunitas Stakes the first weekend of the meet here at Del Mar, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer let it be known to jockey Joe Talamo and his agent, Scotty McClellan, that he was none too pleased with the ride. But Hollendorfer kept Talamo on the filly, and that proved beneficial, because Halo Dolly won two stakes in subsequent weeks, including a breakthrough victory on Monday in the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon Handicap.

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The Yellow Ribbon was the 13th win in 22 lifetime starts for Halo Dolly, but it was significant in that it was her first win – in fact, her first top-three finish – in a graded stakes race after a career largely spent in races restricted to California-breds.

“We were hoping to get graded placed,” said Hollendorfer, who ran one-two in the Yellow Ribbon when City to City rallied for second. “Right now, I’d just have to say the key to the horse is that she’s just a happy horse. Every day is a good day for her. She does her work willingly and rests willingly and everything is good for her right now.”

Talamo said Halo Dolly “turns it on at the end.”

“That turn of foot she has makes her an especially good grass horse,” Talamo said.

Halo Dolly is now 7 for 10 on turf, including 3 for 4 at Del Mar.

Beating better company has opened new possibilities for Halo Dolly. At the upcoming Santa Anita fall meeting, which begins later this month, Halo Dolly could run Sept. 29 in the Grade 1, $250,000 Rodeo Drive Stakes – which formerly was the Yellow Ribbon before a wholesale renaming of stakes races for that meet – or drop back into a Cal-bred race for the $125,000 California Cup Distaff on Oct. 13.

Neither spot is ideal. Halo Dolly has done her best work at middle distances – the Yellow Ribbon was 1 1/16 miles – and the Rodeo Drive is at 1 1/4 miles, while the Cal Cup Distaff is at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course.

Renee’s Queen eyes Surfer Girl

With the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita this fall, a series of stakes races were constructed at Del Mar and Santa Anita to move horses toward the Breeders’ Cup races for 2-year-olds on turf. Renee’s Queen, who prevailed in a blanket finish in the Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes on Monday, could come back in the $100,000 Surfer Girl Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 8 as a bridge to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on Nov. 2. The Surfer Girl, like the Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf, is at one mile on the turf.

Renee’s Queen, a daughter of After Market, was the longest shot on the board in the Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies at 30-1. She won a cavalry charge that saw the first six runners separated by about one length.

Eric Guillot, who trains Renee’s Queen, also has the option of moving her back to the main track for the Grade 1, $250,000 Chandelier Stakes, formerly the Oak Leaf Stakes, on Sept. 29.