Thursday, November 23rd, 2017   ( 2 weeks ago )

How Unusual Scores Upset in Red Carpet Handicap

How Unusual © Benoit Photo

Masterfully-ridden by jockey Corey Nakatani, longshot How Unusual spurted between horses at the top of the stretch to enter contention and outfinished 2-1 favored Responsibleforlove in the final sixteenth to win the featured Grade III $100,000 Red Carpet Handicap on Thanksgiving holiday Thursday at Del Mar.

How Unusual, sent to the gate at 9-1 for the mile and three-eighths grass marathon, was outrun in the early stages, but showed an impressive turn of foot when cut loose by Nakatani to score by a half-length in 2:14.92 for the distance.

Responsibleforlove, with Joe Talamo in the saddle, was runner-up, a half-length in front of Laseen, with La Manta Gris fourth in the field of 12 older fillies and mares. Galileo’s Song and Lottie were withdrawn from the original field.

How Unusual, owned by the partnership of Fetkin, Sill and St. Hilaire and trained by Mike Pender, scored her fifth victory in 19 outings and returned $21.80, $7.60 and $5 while earning first money of $60,000. The four-year-old filly now has a total bankroll of $302,367.

Responsibleforlove paid $3.20 and $3.20, while Laseen returned $6.40 to show.

There were no perfect tickets in Thursday’s Pick Six, so Friday’s card will have a carryover of $49,099.

Friday’s program features the Grade II $200,000 Hollywood Turf Cup for older horses at a mile and one-half on the grass. Post time for the first of eight races is 12:30 p.m.


COREY NAKATANI (How Unusual, winner) – “Mike (trainer Mike Pender) 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. She’s a nice filly.”

JOE TALAMO (Responsibleforlove, second) – “Really good trip. She fired. Unfortunately, we didn’t win.”

TIAGO PEREIRA (Laseen, third) – “I had nowhere to run around the turn; I had to wait. Then she came late. If I can get out and get a place, I think we win.”

MIKE PENDER (How Unusual, winner) – “She’s coming around, this filly. 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 bought her for $80,000 privately from Madeline (Auerbach). We’re really happy with this filly and that was a great ride by Corey (Nakatani).”


FRACTIONS: :23.69 :48.39 1:13.57 1:38.59 2:03.05 2:14.92

The stakes win was the second of the meet for rider Nakatani and his first in the Red Carpet. He now has 108 stakes wins at Del Mar, second most all time.

The stakes win was the first of the meet for trainer Pender and his first in the Red Carpet. He now has three stakes wins at Del Mar.

The winner is owned by Hunter Sill from Cardiff, CA; Bob Fetkin from St. Petersburg Beach, FL; Christopher St. Hilaire from Newport Beach, CA, and Pender Racing of trainer Mike Pender from Arcadia, CA.