No matter the distance, the pace scenario or the level of competition, Hombre Rapido has only three ways of going once the gates open: fast, faster, fastest.
John Sadler hopes it's enough when the 7-year-old gelding breaks from the gate in Sunday's $100,000 El Conejo Handicap (gr. III) for older horses at 5 ½ furlongs on the main track.
Hombre Rapido hasn't won since May 10, 2003, when the Kentucky-bred son of Falstaff took the Los Angeles Times Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park. But he's almost always in front at some point in the race, particularly early on. Eight of Hombre Rapido's last 10 races have been at six furlongs, the other two at 5 ½ and one of those was on turf.
"For him it's always an advantage to go shorter," Sadler said. "He really doesn't want to run six furlongs. Five-eighths would be best for him, and 5 ½ is definitely good for him, too. He's always going to run fast so a shorter distance helps."
Sadler seldom encounters a race for Hombre Rapido that's void of alacrity.
"There always seems to be a lot of speed in the races he runs in," Sadler said. "He always runs in front but if he can get an easier lead it helps. He can go a half-mile in :43 3/5 now pretty consistently and there aren't many horses that can do that."
Hombre Rapido has a 5-4-8 record from 25 starts with earnings of $372,580 for the Granja Vista Del Rio Stable.
$100,000 El Conejo Handicap (gr. III), 4 & up, 5 1/2 furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Don'tsellmeshort, Mike Smith, 113
2. McCann's Mojave, Jose Valdivia Jr., 118
3. Woke Up Dreamin, Rene Douglas, 111
4. Areyoutalkintome, Tyler Baze, 114
5. Day Trader, Mark Guidry, 114
6. Britt's Jules, Kent Desormeaux, 115
7. Hombre Rapido, David Flores, 116
8. (a) Revello, Jon Court
9. (a) Bluesthestandard, Martin Pedroza, 118
(a) Jeffrey Sengara entry.