Odds-on favorite Roman Threat had too much speed for his seven opponents in the $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap (gr. III) (VIDEO) in a dominating win on the Cushion Track at Betfair Hollywood Park May 28.
With Rafael Bejarano aboard, Roman Threat took the early lead from between horses, angled to the rail, and was never seriously challenged while winning by 1 1/4 lengths under a brisk hand ride.
Patti and Hal Earnhardt's 4-year-old Kentucky homebred son of Roman Ruler was making just his third start for trainer Bob Baffert. The dark bay/brown gelding, out of the Flying Chevron mare Shameful, ran six furlongs in a quick 1:08.57 after carving quarter-mile fractions of :22.35 and :44.81.
Centralinteligence chased Roman Threat in second all the way around with Joel Rosario riding, closing to within a length at the quarter pole before Roman Threat kicked clear again in the stretch. Camp Victory, who was awarded the Los Angeles last year when Amazombie was disqualified, finished third with Joe Talamo aboard, 2 3/4 lengths behind the winner.
"He was going so easy down the backstretch," Bejarano said of Roman Threat. "By the three-eighths I still had a lot of horse. I was just waiting in the stretch and when I let him go he was flying."
Roman Threat began his career in March, defeating maidens by 1 1/4 lengths at Santa Anita Park while running six furlongs in 1:08. Baffert moved him into stakes company April 7 in the Potrero Grande (gr. II) and the speedster set a lively pace before being collared late by Amazombie by a half-length.
He came into the Los Angeles with three consecutive five-furlong bullet moves at Hollywood Park. Assistant trainer Mike Marlow said they've had to slow Roman Threat down in the mornings.
"He had a lot of little things (wrong) when he was 2 and 3," Marlow said. "We had to (geld) him because he was too tough to handle and wasn't paying attention to his training. (Baffert) 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'?"
The victory pushed Roman Threat's career earnings to $123,600.
Sent off at odds of 9-10, Roman Threat paid $3.80, $2.60, and $2.10. Centralinteligence returned $5.20 and $3.40. Camp Victory was $3 to show.
Rail Trip, making his return to Southern California racing after a stint in New York, finished fourth in his first race since last November. He was followed by M One Rifle, Sway Away, and Dancing in Silks.