Updated on 09/17/2011 10:46PM

Unfurl the Flag sharp in Triple Bend

Unfurl the Flag and Corey Nakatani hit the line two lengths clear to win Sunday's Grade 1, $350,000 Triple Bend Invitational Handicap at Hollywood Park in 1:20.95 for seven furlongs.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - It's a grand old flag, and several members of the entourage that greeted Unfurl the Flag in the winner's circle were only too happy to wave it high and proud on the holiday weekend after their speedy sprinter scored a front-running victory on Sunday in the Grade 1, $350,000 at Hollywood Park.

Unfurl the Flag set swift fractions while in company with Forest Grove for the first half-mile, put that rival away midway on the turn, and then drew away for a two-length victory in the seven-furlong race. Bear in the Woods and McCann's Mojave finished in a dead-heat for second.

After setting or pressing fractions of 21.88 seconds, 43.86 seconds, and 1:07.98 for the first six furlongs, Unfurl the Flag completed seven furlongs on the fast main track in 1:20.95.

Unfurl the Flag ($13.40) rewarded the confidence of jockey Corey Nakatani, who chose him over Forest Grove, even though Forest Grove was coming off a victory in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Times Handicap. Unfurl the Flag's lone stakes win had been against California-breds.

"They were both working well," Nakatani said. "Both horses were doing terrific. Fortunately, we made the right choice."

Unfurl the Flag benefited from the outside post in the field of 13, and by racing over a track that was kind to speed all weekend. It also helped that another potential front-runner, Roi Charmant, stumbled at the start and dislodged jockey Victor Espinoza.

Unfurl the Flag has been a terror at Hollywood Park, where he has now won four times in five starts. He had not raced since capturing the Tiznow Stakes on the Gold Rush program on April 24.

"The other races came up too quick," said Dave Bernstein, who trains Unfurl the Flag. "We waited, and he never missed a beat. He worked every week. He was just getting better and better."

Unfurl The Flag, 5, is a gelding by Bertrando. Bernstein claimed him on behalf of owners Alan Aidekman, Gaylord Ailshie, Tom Harris, and Bruce Rose two summers ago at Del Mar. He has now won six times in 18 starts, and has earned $520,408.