Defending champion Hombre Rapido will attempt to join legendary Native Diver as the only two-time winner of the $150,000 Los Angeles Times Handicap (gr. III) Saturday at Hollywood Park.Hombre Rapido, who won last year's Times Handicap by one length over Publication, has not raced since after being sidelined with a foot injury. A field of 11 was entered Thursday."He's been back on the track for a few months and is ready to defend," said trainer John Sadler. The 7-year-old gelded son of Falstaff, an earner of $313,330 from five wins in 20 starts, will be reunited with jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. Granja Vista Del Rio Stable owns Hombre Rapido, who set the track record of 1:01.67 for 5 ½ furlongs at Hollywood Park in 2002.Hombre Rapido shares high weight of 119 pounds with Marino Marini in a field of eleven. The latter lost by a head to Southern Image in Santa Anita's Malibu Stakes (gr. I) in December. He was third, beaten by 1 1/4 length by Lion Tamer, in the April 10 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Keeneland.The stretch-running Hasty Kris, making his first start since January, should be gaining late if the front-runners falter. Cayoke ran second to Glick, beaten by three-quarters of a length, in the San Simeon (gr. IIIT) on the Santa Anita hillside turf course April 18.Another contender, Pohave, finished third, four lengths behind Pico Central, in the San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita March 7.
Should Hombre Rapido be victorious in his comeback attempt, his double in the stakes event would equal the two wins by Native Diver in 1965 and 1967 when the race was known as the Los Angeles Handicap. Native Diver is best known as the only three-time winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup. Sadler previously won the race, which had its name changed in 2002, with Rosie's K.T. in 1986 and Olympic Prospect in 1988. He seeks to become the only trainer besides Buster Millerick, who conditioned Native Diver, as the only four-time winner of the stake.$150,000 Los Angeles Times Handicap (gr. III), 3 & up, 6 furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Pohave (KY), 114, Jon Kenton Court
2. Hombre Rapido (KY), 119, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
3. Hasty Kris (FL), 117, Kerwin John
4. Revello (CA), 108, David C. Nuesch
5. Seattle Shamus (KY), 114, Patrick A. Valenzuela
6. Cayoke (FR), 118, Alex O. Solis
7. Summer Service (CA), 115, Corey S. Nakatani
8. Our Bobby V. (WA), 113, Mike E. Smith
9. T S Eliot (KY), 111, Javier Santiago
10. Marino Marini (KY), 119, Tyler Baze
11. Kewen (VA), 113, Victor Espinoza