07/11/2001 11:00PM

Yellow Ribbon tops rich Oak Tree meet


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Two $500,000 stakes that are major preps to the Breeders' Cup World Throroughbred Championships - the Sept. 29 Yellow Ribbon Stakes for fillies and mares on turf and the Oct. 7 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap - headline the stakes schedule at the upcoming Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting, which runs Sept. 26 to Nov. 5.

The meeting's two principal races for juveniles - the Norfolk Stakes and the Oak Leaf Stakes for fillies - have been raised by $50,000, to $250,000. The Norfolk is on Sept. 29, a day with three Breeders' Cup preps. The Oak Leaf is the next day, with two Cup preps. The final three preps will be run Oct. 6-7.

The Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby will be run for $150,000, a drop of $100,000. Since the Oak Tree Derby is only two weeks from the Breeders' Cup races at Belmont Park, it is more a prep for the Hollywood Derby at Hollywood Park in November.

The surface of two $50,000 California Cup races for claimers have been changed, the only revision to the Nov. 3 program. The Starter Handicap, previously run at 1 1/2 miles on dirt, will be run over 1 1/4 miles on turf. The Distaff Starter Handicap remains at 1 1/8 miles, but will be switched to turf.