Rapid Dan upsets Laurel Park feature
From a Maryland Jockey Club release
Diane Manning’s Rapid Dan took advantage of a speed duel up front to split horses in deep stretch and go on to a 1 ¾-length upset victory in Sunday’s featured open entry-level allowance at Laurel Park.
The second of two wins on the afternoon for trainer Dale Capuano, Rapid Dan ($24.60) ran 5 ½ furlongs in 1:04.02 seconds over a Bowl Game Turf Course layout listed as yielding. It was the 6-year-old gelding’s first win in 17 starts, dating back to July 27, 2015.
Unhurried in the early going from his rail post, Rapid Dan and jockey Sheldon Russell were content to race near the rear of the eight-horse field as Billy the Bull – half of the favored 6-5 entry trained by Mary Eppler – and Spartianos duked it out through a quarter-mile in 22.13 seconds and a half in 45.51.
Spartianos forged a short lead rounding the far turn but drifted out to the middle of the track as Billy the Bull fought back on the inside, leaving room for Russell to steer Rapid Dan through and sprint clear, dismissing stakes winner and Grade 3-placed Pool Winner’s bid on the far outside.
“We figured there would be plenty of speed in the race. Sheldon did a great job. He’s been riding terrific and the horse ran well. He’s trained well and he finally won a race. It’s been a while,” Capuano said. “I had to beat [Pool Winner]; that’s all I was worried about. When the [1 and 1A] were even money I [thought], ‘We should be all right.’”
Pool Winner held on for second by three-quarters of a length over Grandiflora, with Spartianos another 1 ½ lengths back, followed by Oak Bluffs, Elusive Joni, Billy the Bull and Debt Ceiling.
Capuano, a career winner of more than 3,300 races with multiple leading trainer titles on the Maryland circuit, also won Sunday’s sixth race with Southern Peach ($12.60), a horse he claimed for $6,250 two starts back.
“It’s like old times,” Capuano said. “It feels good.”