09/03/2005 11:00PM

Three Valleys wins Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap

Three Valleys captures the Grade 2, $350,000 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap on Sunday.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Humberto Ascanio got his parlay home. The long-time assistant to trainer Bobby Frankel prepared Intercontinental for her victory in the Palomar Handicap on Saturday, and then 24 hours later sent out Three Valleys to capture the Grade 2, $350,000 in a course-record performance before 23,618 fans.

Like Intercontinental, Three Valleys is owned and was bred by Prince Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms. Both were favored, and both needed head's-up rides to prevail.

Three Valleys ($3.80) was caught in traffic on the final turn, but jockey Patrick Valenzuela never panicked. He was able to knife between We All Love Aleyna and Sam Forli, then was able to tip three paths wide and set sail after leaders Siren Lure and Wild Buddy.

Three Valleys got to the front inside the furlong pole, but he was fully extended to prevail by a nose while holding off We All Love Aleyna, who got through along the rail after being blocked at the top of the stretch. Wild Buddy was another half-length back in third, with Siren Lure fourth. The first six finishers were separated by just two lengths.

"It was tight on the far turn, but then I went around," Valenzuela said. "He stayed on his left lead, but he was kicking as well as he could, so I didn't worry about it."

Valenzuela won four races on Sunday's card. A fifth winner was negated because the day's first race was declared no contest following an accident.

Three Valleys was timed in 1:32.21 for one mile on the firm turf course, which beat the previous course mark of Touch of the Blues by .01.

"I don't think you've seen the best of this horse," said Frankel, who flew in from New York for the holiday weekend.

Three Valleys, 4, is a son of Diesis. He is 2-for-3 in this country, his lone loss a third-place finish to stablemate Leroidesanimaux in Hollywood Park's Citation Handicap last November.

* Earlier on Sunday's card, Candy Factory ($14.20) won her fourth straight grass race by upsetting favored Valentine Dancer in the $125,000 Solana Beach Handicap for California-bred fillies and mares on the turf. Rene Douglas rode Candy Factory for trainer Mike Machowsky. She was timed in 1:33.36 for one mile on the firm course.