04/10/2016 6:45PM

Subtle Indian extends winning streak to four in Count Fleet

Coady Photography
Subtle Indian dominates the Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap by 3 3/4 lengths under Ramon Vazquez.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.- Subtle Indian called on his quickness to dominate a deep field Sunday in the Grade 3, $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park. He won by 3 3/4  lengths over millionaire Alsvid, while it was another 2 1/4 lengths back in third to seven-time stakes winner Cinco Charlie. 

Subtle Indian ($6) was winning his fourth straight race in the Count Fleet, in a streak that has been built over the course of the meet that opened in January. He broke on top from the rail post Sunday and never looked back to cover six furlongs in a blazing 1:08.80.

“You don’t see many horses leave out of the gate as fast as him, especially out of the one-hole,” said winning trainer Robertino Diodoro. 

The Count Fleet was Oaklawn’s main event for sprinters, and part of its $3.75 million Racing Festival of the South. The festival features nine major stakes run over the final week of the meet that closes Saturday with the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby.

Subtle Indian took quick command of the Count Fleet, pushing off to a clear lead through an opening quarter-mile in 21.42 seconds. He maintained his 1 1/2- length advantage through a half-mile in 44.38 and opened up in the stretch under jockey Ramon Vazquez.

“He’s lightning fast,” Vazquez said. “The plan was to go to the front and never look back. It worked in a big way today. I know there were a lot of talented runners in the field today, but my horse never looked back once we left the gate. It’s a great feeling to win on this nice horse.”

Alsvid, who won last year’s Count Fleet, was turning back from a mile and made a late run at Subtle Indian.

“What a classy horse my horse is,” said Channing Hill, who rode Alsvid. “I’ve been watching him run and have been outrun by him a few times, but he’s all class. I have to give the winner a lot of credit because he flew around there. We gained a little bit of ground down the stretch, but it wasn’t enough.”

Diodoro said plans beyond the Count Fleet have not been discussed for the horse. Subtle Indian has now won 7 of 9 starts and the $240,000 he earned Sunday pushed his career bankroll to $500,300. He races for his breeder, Mercedes Stables of California.

“It’s an honor to train for people like that and get a horse like that,” Diodoro said. “They have a lot of well-bred horses.”

Subtle Indian is a son of Indian Charlie who was bred in Kentucky.

Oaklawn moves into its final four dates of racing on Wednesday.