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OAK TREE AT SANTA ANITA : No Flaws for Aube Indienne in 'Ribbon Run


Who needs Flawlessly?

Trainer Charlie Whittingham didn't need the recently retired, two-time Eclipse Award winner as the nation's top grass mare to win his first Yellow Ribbon since 1985 Sunday at Santa Anita.

Aube Indienne proved her 8-1 upset in the Las Palmas Handicap three weeks earlier was no fluke with a half-length victory in the $400,000, Grade I turf race.

Now perfect in two starts after moving to Whittingham's barn after being with Whittingham's former assistant, Rodney Rash, Aube Indienne wore down pacesetter Zoonaqua, then outfinished Fondly Remembered to win by a half-length in 2:02 1/5 for the 1 1/4 miles.

A 15-1 outsider who had finished third in the Louis R. Rowan Handicap a week before, Fondly Remembered beat 5-1 shot Zoonaqua by a neck for the place.

Kent Desormeaux, who rode Fondly Remembered in her last two races, was back on Aube Indienne on Sunday.

"She ran well again, but today she got lucky," Desormeaux said of the winner. "I had nowhere to go at the half-mile pole. Chris Antley (Fondly Remembered's rider) and I were jockeying for position. I got to sneak through and I got about four or five lengths on him and then beat him a half-length.

"So, my filly was lucky today. I might have taken off the winner."

This was the fourth victory for Whittingham in the Yellow Ribbon, but his first since Estrapade strolled home nine years earlier.

"This takes some of the sting out of losing Flawlessly," said Whittingham, 81, who has picked up his stakes pace after going many months without an added-money victory. "It's great now that we've got one who looks like she's going to help us some.

"She's an honest filly and she had a good trip all the way. This race still has some special meaning for me. I've been there quite a few times and it's still a nice race to win."

Corrazona, the 5-2 second choice, turned in her third consecutive subpar performance. Beaten two lengths by Aube Indienne when fourth in the Las Palmas as the 7-10 choice, she finished seventh of 11 Sunday.

"She made a nice mid-rally around the turn like I was going to be in the thick of things," Gary Stevens said of Corrazona. "I was on the outside moving with (Desormeaux). She moved for about a sixteenth of a mile, then just quit running on me.

"I don't know what was going on with her. She feels good underneath me. She was making a little bit of a whistling noise pulling up. Maybe she's got some kind of infection going on. She's too nice of a filly to run like she did today."

Yenda, who was the 2-1 favorite while coupled with Wandesta, finished fourth, a length behind Zoonaqua, then it was 10 more to La Frontera, Chesa Plana, Corrazona, Freckling Shadows, Wandesta, Wende and Magical Maiden.


Beaten as the 2-1 favorite by Lindon Lime in the Sam Houston Handicap at the Dueling Grounds, Sir Mark Sykes is the lukewarm 7-2 choice to make amends in the $150,000 Carleton F. Burke Handicap today at Santa Anita.

The closing-day feature has attracted eight other entrants and will be run at 1 1/4 miles on the turf.

Before going to Dueling Grounds, Sir Mark Sykes was third behind Navarone and Approach The Bench in the Del Mar Invitational Handicap and he won the Escondido at Del Mar. Corey Black will again ride for trainer Jenine Sahadi.

Stark South, second at 17-1 in the recent Henry P. Russell Handicap, is the 7-2 second choice. The 6-year-old is winless in eight starts this year and will be ridden by Laffit Pincay.

Rounding out the field are Frenesi, Regency, Newton's Law, a two-time winner at the meeting, Square Cut, Savinio, Sneakin Jake and Frenchpar, a 4-year-old colt making his first American start after winning two of 11 in Europe.

In the race before the Burke, Desert Stormer is the 2-1 favorite against eight fillies and mares in the six-furlong Bara Lass, a $60,000 overnight stakes.

Horse Racing Notes

The victory in the Yellow Ribbon was the third in the last four years for Desormeaux. He won with Kostroma in 1991 and Super Staff in 1992. . . . Besides Estrapade, Whittingham's other Yellow Ribbon victories came with Queen To Conquer in 1981 and Castilla in 1982. . . . Stalcreek, who upset Hollywood Wildcat in the La Canada Stakes earlier this year, has been retired and will be bred to Storm Bird. . . . Desormeaux won three times Sunday.

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