DEL MAR, CA – Owner/trainer Michael Pender’s How Unusual rallied late down the stretch to take Thursday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Red Carpet Handicap.
Dropping back and angling in after breaking from far outside post 12 under Corey Nakatani, How Unusual dropped back while Do the Dance and Earring took turns leading through splits of :23.69, :48.38, and 1:13.57. Exiting the far turn four-wide, How Unusual rallied hard and gained the lead late from Responsibleforlove, crossing in front by a 1/2-length in a final time of 2:14.92 for the 1 3/8-mile turf race.
“She’s a nice filly,” Nakatani said. “Mike and I talked, and we both agreed that there was only one way to go with her: to take her back, get her to settle and into a nice rhythm and then make that late run. I thought sure she’d handle the distance and she did.”
Laseen was gaining ground towards the inside but ran out of room at one point and had to settle for third. La Manta Gris nosed out Evo Campo for fourth, while Kiss Me Now, Earring, Dynamic Mizzes K, Victress, Birdie Gold, and Domestic Vintage completed the order of finish. Do the Dance was pulled up on the last turn but walked off under his own power. Lottie and Galileo’s Song were scratched.
The 4-year-old daughter of Unusual Heat increased her earnings to $302,367 and improved her record to 19-5-2-3. Her record now stands at 8-3-1-2 since acquired by Pender, who co-owns with Hunter Sill, Bob Fetkin, and Christopher St. Hilaire.
“She’s coming around, this filly,” Pender said. “Every race gets a little bit better than the one before. We bought her for a ham sandwich at the end of last summer (2016). We’re really happy with this filly and that was a great ride by Corey.”
How Unusual returned $21.80 to win, $7.60 to place, and $5 to show. Responsibleforlove brought back $3.20 to place and $3.20 to show, while Laseen paid $6.40 to show.