McClay & Harry Nye’s Norman Asbjornson ran down front runner
Eighttofasttocatch to win the $125,000 Harrison E. Johnson Memorial
Stakes this afternoon at Laurel Park.
to post at 6-1 under Jeremy Rose for trainer Carlos Mancilla, the
5-year-old was winning his first stakes. A hint of what he was capable
of doing came in his previous start, when Norman Asbjornson was elevated
to second in the John B. Campbell Stakes last month after he was fouled
by Service for Ten in the final furlong.
is filling in for trainer Chris Grove, who is serving a suspension.
Mancilla has been Grove’s top assistant for 16 years.
thought he should have won that race and we were confident coming into
the race,” said Mancilla, who also won Saturday’s fifth race with Wry
Eighttofasttocatch, the two-time defending champion of the race, opened
a commanding lead, a lead which held up into the stretch, the winner
was last at the start, last down the backstretch and last entering the
far turn. Norman Asbjornson was closing relentlessly with a furlong to
go and swept by to win going away, by 1-1/2 lengths.
Asbjornson completed the nine furlong distance in 1:51.77. General
George (G3) winner Javerre finished third, 2-1/4 back of
thing I had going for me is I knew my horse could get the distance,”
said Rose, who was aboard for the first time. “To be honest I didn’t
expect (Eighttofasttocatch) to open up that far. I didn’t know if I gave
my horse too much ground to make up but he’s a nice horse, he overcame
me and got the job done.”
son of Real Quiet has six runner-up finishes in stakes races during his
career, including the Gotham Stakes (G3) and competed in both the Wood
Memorial (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) two years ago.
“He always tries and is very versatile,” added Mancilla.
Norman Asbjornson paid $14.20 and improved to 5-of-20 lifetime with 13 on the board finishes for earnings of $403,350.
Koh I Noor, who had won four straight at Laurel since October, finished fourth as the 4-5 betting choice.