Yankee Rose…The Spring And People’s Champion

Yankee Rose (pic. Lisa Grimm)


There’s so much to like about Yankee Rose, it’s hard to know where to start.

Size? She’s not the biggest filly you’ll ever come across, but there’s cause to believe that a good part of the chassis houses a massive heart.

Tenacity? 300 metres from home in Saturday’s Spring Champion Stakes, a second Group One victory appeared forlorn and, as one observer pointed out, she “was spinning wheels”.

Trainer? David Vandyke has had some well documented, personal ‘battles’ but is one of the most popular, and clearly astute, mentors in his profession.

Jockey? Until Saturday, 42 year old Dean Yendall had never ridden a Group One winner. Until Saturday.

History? In a race that dates back to 1971 and whose previous winners include Kingston Town, the Spring Champion honour roll was an exclusive boys club. Again, until Saturday.

Price? A daughter of All American, Yankee Rose was sold for just $10,000 from the Widden Stud draft at last year’s Inglis Sydney Classic Yearling Sale. And no, we didn’t a miss a zero.

So, plenty of reasons why we like Yankee Rose, but the one thing she represents is that anyone could have been standing in the winners’ circle at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

Mark Holland, Racing Manager for Darby Racing – which purchased Yankee Rose as a yearling – sums it up simply: “she’s relatable”.

“Yankee Rose is a horse for the mums and dads,” Holland enthused. “And she literally is. There are 18 owners in the filly and, while a couple took 10% shares, the 5% shareholders only had to pay $1,990. A lot of them are first time owners.

“I reckon she’s a tremendous advertisement for racing … the people’s champion! How many people either at the track or watching on TV would have thought to themselves ‘that could be me’?”

Darby Racing has been in operation now for eight years and, with around 85 horses on its books, has had a fair swag of Group success, but Yankee Rose is, by far, the pin up gal.

“We’ve had Group winners and runners in Group Ones, but until Yankee Rose came along, no actual Group One winners,” Holland adds. “So, in a sense she’s a bit of a trendsetter: our first Group One winner, David Vandyke’s first Group One winner and Dean Yendall’s first Group One winner.”

In proving yet again that luck’s a fortune, Holland confesses that Yankee Rose nearly passed them by at the sales.

“We had had a couple of All Americans previously … big, strong types, but they weren’t very good to be honest,” Holland recalls. “We had a look at Yankee Rose and she was only small, but very athletic. A neat package. Anyway, we thought to ourselves, if she goes for cheap enough we will take her, and by the grace of God, we secured her.”

Yankee Rose has now raced on seven occasions, kicking off her career with a win at Rosehill last October. Another win followed in November and Vandyke then tipped the filly out until March when she almost upstaged her more fancied rivals by finishing second to Capitalist in the Golden Slipper.

Yankee Rose then came out and won her first Group One by taking out the Sires’ Produce at Randwick in April before heading out for another spell. She then returned with her only unplaced run to date in the Group One Golden Rose, but followed up with a second to Global Glamour in the Group One Flight Stakes and, now just a week later, success in the Spring Champion. The filly who cost just $10,000 as a yearling has now won $1,922,700.

Incredibly, she’s now being pointed toward the WS Cox Plate and, potentially, a $1,800,000 pay day. Sure, she’ll be up against Winx, but only has to carry 47.5kgs … notwithstanding the weight of owners’ expectations.

Yes, there are lots of reasons to like Yankee Rose, but Holland is happy to settle on one: “She has brought dreams to reality for so many people.”


Hoofnote: Another clear beneficiary of Yankee Rose’s ‘largesse’ is West Australian stud owner, Eddie Rigg.

Just weeks prior to Yankee Rose’s Autumn success, Rigg purchased All American from Arrowfield Stud where the son of Red Ransom had stood since 2010.

“I’m counting my lucky stars,” Rigg happily points out. “She (Yankee Rose) is doing an unbelievable job for All American.

“All American has started off well at Geisel Park and there’s only been a couple of negatives from the first 40 mares covered. And that strike-rate is better than it appears because of the unseasonably cold weather over here in WA. The mares still think it’s Winter.

We’ve got 90 confirmed bookings for this spring with another 10 left to fill his book.

“Apart from Yankee Rose, All American’s Adelaide sprinter Zebulon was pre-post favourite for this year’s Group One Goodwood before breaking down, while he also sired a winner in Hong Kong on Saturday.

“What’s more, with over 100 2YOs coming through this season, his first from that crop – American Genius – was stakes placed in the Maribyrnong Plate at Flemington last week.”

The Power of Passion