12/27/2014 8:08PM

All goes according to plan for Lady Pimpernel in Robert Frankel

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Benoit & Associates
Lady Pimpernel (3), ridden by Victor Espinoza, prevails by a nose over Diversy Harbor in the Robert Frankel Stakes.

ARCADIA, Calif. - There were no mistakes from Lady Pimpernel or jockey Victor Espinoza in Saturday’s $101,000 Robert Frankel Stakes on turf at Santa Anita.

After a slow start and traffic problems that resulted in a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Red Carpet Handicap at Del Mar on Nov. 22, Espinoza sought a different approach for the Grade 3 Frankel Stakes over 1 1/-8 miles on turf. He kept Lady Pimpernel close to the pace and won by a nose over a fast-closing Diversy Harbor, a 7-2 shot.

“It worked well this time for me,” Espinoza said. “I wanted to be closer. Last time, she broke slow and I had to make up ground.”

The victory gave trainer Carla Gaines her second stakes win on Saturday. Earlier in the day, she won the Eddie Logan Stakes for 2-year-olds on turf with the promising colt Bolo.

Sent off favored, Lady Pimpernel ($7.80) was timed in 1:49.96, winning the second stakes of her career, and her first graded stakes.

Espinoza had the 4-year-old filly in sixth and fifth through the first half-mile, tracking Kathleen Rose, who set a slow pace of 24.97 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 50.05 seconds for the first half-mile. Lady Pimpernel was third with a furlong to go, 1 1/2 lengths behind stretch leader Rusty Slipper. In the final strides, Lady Pimpernel was fully extended to beat Diversy Harbor, the winner of the China Doll Stakes here last March.

 “This is a distance filly and she doesn’t have the kick at the end,” Espinoza said of Lady Pimpernel.

Lady Pimpernel, bred in the west of England, won the Upavon Fillies Stakes at Salisbury, England, in August in her final start in that country. By the Mark of Esteem sire, Sir Percy, Lady Pimpernel is owned by Triton Racing and has won 5 of 16 starts. The Frankel was the richest result of her career. She has earned $153,407.

Diversy Harbor finished a neck in front of Three Hearts, a 15-1 shot who raced in traffic in the final furlong. Lady of Gold was fourth, followed by Kathleen Rose, Rusty Slipper, Blingismything, Scooter Bird, and Aguafria.