Published Saturday, November 22nd, 2014   ( 7 years ago )

Three Hearts Surprises
In Red Carpet Handicap

Team Valor International's Three Hearts, winless since April of 2013, ended her losing streak in a big way Saturday with a surprise victory at odds of 29-1 in the featured $100,000 Red Carpet Handicap before 18,083 fans.  
Three Hearts, ridden by Joe Talamo and trained by Hall of Famer Neil Drysdale, gamely withstood the prolonged challenge of Lady of Gold to win by a half-length in 2:15.54 for the mile and three-eighths over Del Mar's infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course. 
Lady Pimpernel was a fast-closing third, a neck behind the runner-up and a nose ahead of fourth-place Scooter Bird in the field of eleven older fillies and mares. 
Three Hearts, a Kentucky-bred four-year-old daughter of Hat Trick, hadn't won since an allowance success during Keeneland's spring season of last year. 
Three Hearts returned $61.40, $25 and $11.60 while earning $60,000 with her third win in 14 starts, increasing her career bankroll to $192,249. 
Lady of Gold, who was piloted by Kent Desormeaux, paid $13.60 and $8.40, while Lady Pimpernel returned $4.80 to show. 
Hall of Famer Gary Stevens won his first race since having knee replacement surgery, guiding Grand Yodeler to a $5.20 victory in the first race of the afternoon. 
There were no perfect tickets in Saturday's Pick Six. Thus, Sunday's program will feature a Pick Six carryover of $115,124. Post time for the first race is 12:30 p.m.

JOE TALAMO (Three Hearts, winner) -- "Neil (trainer Neil Drysdale) just said : "Don't mess it up.' No, I'm kidding. All he said was to  just ride her.' My trip couldn't have been more perfect. She broke good from the outside and I was able to get her over and save ground. She's such a classy filly to ride; she relaxed so nicely. When I asked her she fired and we still had a lot left in the tank."
KENT DESORMEAUX (Lady of Gold, second) -- "The winner had an easy-peezy trip and I had some troubles. At the three-eighths I got bumped and she stumbled. She was going so good to that point. It took her off her game and I think it made the difference." 
VICTOR ESPINOZA (Lady Pimpernel, third) -- "I ran into someone on the turn; I don't even know who it was. She's a big filly and I had to stop her, then it's hard to get them back running again. She closed, but the trouble hurt us." 
NEIL DRYSDALE (Three Hearts, winner) -- "I think I've only had this filly since late September. Team Valor has decided to send some horses out to the West Coast again. We took the blinkers off and it was a really lovely ride, well-positioned. I talked to Barry Irwin (Team Valor) and thought that she could go a bit longer distances. This was a mile and three-eighths. I think she'll go a mile and a half."

FRACTIONS:  :24.78  :49.52  1:15.06  1:38.99  2:03.40  2:15.54
This is the first running of the Red Carpet Handicap at Del Mar. Previously, it was run 48 times at Hollywood Park under the name Beverly Hills Handicap.  
This was the first stakes win of the meet for rider Joe Talamo and his 36th stakes victory overall at Del Mar. 
This was the first stakes win of the meet for trainer Neil Drysdale and his 40th Del Mar stakes victory overall, ninth best of all Del Mar trainers. 
The winning owner, Team Valor International, is a horse partnership group headed by Barry Irwin, a Californian originally who now lives in Kentucky.