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John Scott Relentless in Crystal Water

In the blink of an eye, lightly raced John Scott called upon his considerable class and re-rallied in the shadow of the wire to deny longshot Huntsville and Juan Hernandez victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes for older horses bred in California, prevailing by a nose while getting 1 1/8 miles on “good” turf in 1:47.08.

A 6-year-old gelding by Bertrando, John Scott, who was making his first-ever start on grass, pressed the pace through fractions of 23.30, 46.81 and 1:10.44. Making the lead at the top of the stretch, he stopped the mile timer in 1:34.75.

“I had so much horse when we turned for top of the stretch, but he felt lonely and started looking for company,” explained Garcia. “I didn’t think the other horses could have passed me at anytime because I had a lot of horse…and as soon as they came, he started running again.”

Trained by Carla Gaines and off as the narrow second choice in the wagering at 5-2, John Scott paid $7.60, $5.20 and $3.20. With the winner’s share of $60,000, he increased his earnings to $460,304, and improved his overall record to 12-6-1-2.

“He’s so versatile,” said winning owner and co-breeder John Harris. “You never know. You think you run out of aces on these old horses that come back and they just keep doing it and he did.

“It’s pretty amazing. It’s hard to bring a horse back from a (bowed tendon). You have patience. We did a lot of things, took a lot of time and it all came together. He really shouldn’t have been a favorite. He’s never been on the turf. He’s never been a mile and one eighth, he had a lot going against him.”

When asked if the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap on March 2 might be under consideration, Harris responded:

“I don’t know. That’s a tough bunch of handicap horses. It’s in the realm of possibilities, but I think we just soldier on…When you win one like this, it’s definitely exhilarating.”

Huntsville, off at 17-1, saved every inch of ground while crying out for room at the top of the stretch, was ridden to perfection by Hernandez and finished 1 ½ lengths in front of Jules Journey and David Flores. He paid $12.00 and $6.20.

Jules Journey was third-best and finished 1 ¾ lengths in front of actual 5-2 favorite Big Bane Theory and Julien Leparoux. Jules Journey paid $3.80 to show.



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