Roman Threat takes Los Angeles Handicap; Rail Trip fourth in comeback
Making only his third career start, Roman Threat, a 4-year-old gelding by Roman Ruler, went wire to wire to win the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap by 1 14 lengths at Hollywood Park on Monday’s Memorial Day holiday, beating Central Intelligence and Camp Victory in the six-furlong race for older horses. Rail Trip, the 7-year-old G1 Hollywood Gold Cup winner of 2009, finished fourth in his first race since November and first start since returning to the stable of trainer Ron Ellis.
The winner, a Hal Earnhardt Kentucky homebred gelding, is a half-sister to 2-year-old filly champion and 3-year-old filly and mare sprint champion Indian Blessing. He was ridden to victory by Rafael Bejarano and is trained by Bob Baffert.
The 4-year-old Roman Threat didn’t debut until March 11, when he won a six-furlong maiden race, then finished second to Amazombie in the April 7 Potrero Grande Handicap. He set fractions of :22.35, :44.81 and :56.49 en route to his victory, timed in 1:08.57 on the Cushion Track synthetic surface.
Quotes, courtesy Betfair Hollywood Park media office
RAFAEL BEJARANO, ROMAN THREAT, Winner: “He was going so easy down the backstretch. By the three-eighths I still had a lot of horse. I was just waiting to the stretch and when I let him go he was flying. I didn’t have to do much. He’s got a good pedigree and it looks like he’s going to be a really nice horse. He’s getting sound now.”
JOEL ROSARIO, CENTRALINTILLENGENCE, Second: “The winner got an easy lead. My horse broke a little slow. Sometimes he does that. But I thought he ran a really good race. I give a lot of credit to the winner.”
JOE TALAMO, CAMP VICTORY, Third: “We hopped a bit at the start, but it was no big deal. It was a perfect trip. We just got outrun.”
MIKE MARLOW (ASSISTANT TO BOB BAFFERT), ROMAN THREAT, Winner: “He’s fast. Rafael (Bejarano) said he had so much horse that even in the stretch he didn’t really have to get into him. He’s like that in the morning. He has fast works and it looks like we’re going to the well, but he’s just under a hold. He worked 58 (4/5 May 21) and they were slowing him down. He had a lot of little things when he was two and three. We had to (geld) him because he was tough to handle and wasn’t paying attention to his training. (Baffert) he still throws it at me. He’s asked, ‘Why did you cut that horse?’ I said, ‘What do you want, a race horse or a yard ornament?”
RON ELLIS, CENTRALINTELIGENCE, Second: “We thought he was ready for stakes competition. He gave that horse a run. That time (1:08.57) on this race track is smoking. For crying out loud, the winner – in his second start – made Amazombie run all out and that’s a pretty good horse. Everything worked out well. He just wasn’t good enough.”
RON ELLIS, RAIL TRIP, Fourth: I’m giddy at his performance. For not sprinting in four years and the winner getting an easy first quarter, I thought it was just awesome. (Jockey Jose) Validvia (Jr.) said he was going real smooth. With that race under his belt, we’ll probably go seven furlongs the next time and then stretch him out.’’
MIKE MITCHELL, CAMP VICTORY, Second: “The horse that won needed to be pressured a little bit and mine is not the type of horse who can do it. Don’t know where we’re going next. Maybe the (Grade I, $250,000) Triple Bend (Handicap June 30).’’