Bodhisattva on the upswing heading into Harrison Johnson
March 16, 2017 09:32am
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Photo: Maryland Jockey Club

Over a 28-race career that dates back to the summer of 2014, Bodhisattva has often been a horse that left owner and trainer Jose Corrales scratching his head. The late-running son of Student Council went through streaks where he both started and finished behind each of his competitors, and others where he came from out of the clouds to beat them all.
Two races into his 5-year-old season, Bodhisattva appears to be on the upswing again for Corrales heading into his latest engagement, Saturday’s $75,000 Harrison E. Johnson at Laurel Park.
The 32nd running of the Harrison Johnson for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles and the $75,000 Not For Love and $75,000 Conniver for Maryland-bred/sired sprinters 4 and older are among five stakes worth $425,000 in purses on an 11-race Maryland Jockey Club Celebration Day program.
Also scheduled are the $100,000 Private Terms for 3-year-olds and the $100,000 Caesar’s Wish for 3-year-old fillies, both at about 1 1/16 miles. Laurel is also hosting its inaugural Fantasy Owners Day designed as an introduction to prospective Thoroughbred owners.
Bodhisattva snapped a seven-race losing streak in his last start, the John B. Campbell Feb. 18 at Laurel, where he trailed by 16 lengths after a half-mile before unleashing a powerful run on the far outside to pass claimer-turned-millionaire Page McKenney and win going away by 3 ¾ lengths at odds of 22-1.
He nearly pulled off a similar upset in his seasonal debut, the Jan. 21 Native Dancer, running last by the same margin after four furlongs. Though unable to catch a keen Page McKenney, making his first start in nine months, Bodhisattva put his nose down on the wire to get second, 1 ¾ lengths back.
While the Native Dancer was run at about 1 1/16 miles, the Harrison E. Johnson is contested at the same distance as the Campbell, a factor Corrales feels could be in Bodhisattva’s favor.
“It’s going to be the same distance and the same kind of horses that he’s been running with,” he said. “I just hope that he comes out of that race good and we can look forward for something bigger with him. I think if he runs his style, he can run with any horses.”
Carlos Quinones returns to ride Bodhisattva from Post 4 at topweight of 120 pounds, giving two pounds to each of his eight rivals. Quinones has been aboard in each of the past two starts and followed Corrales’ directions to the letter.
“I think the horse was intimidated before. If he is in front he runs good and if he comeos from behind he runs good, if he’s last. But if he’s in between, he just stops,” Corrales said. “He gets scared. I don’t know, maybe he has claustrophobia.
“The way I like him right now is to just sit back and run from the back. As long as nobody bothers him he will come running,” he added. “He really has a very, very strong finish. Horses can come from behind a long ways, even a sixteenth of a mile, and still be running at the end and catching horses.”
Corrales has always had a soft spot for Bodhisattva, whose milestone wins have come in Maryland. He broke his maiden at Laurel in the fall of 2014 and returned the following spring to win the Federico Tesio – his first stakes victory – before finishing eighth behind eventual Triple Crown champion American Pharoah in the Preakness (G1).
Bodhisattva’s other stakes win came in the Carl Hanford Memorial Stakes last July at Delaware Park.
“I always say, ‘How many horses ran with American Pharoah when he won the Triple Crown?’” Corrales said. “I’m just happy with the horse, and every time I look at the horse it gives me a good feeling to be in this business.”
Live Oak Plantation’s multiple stakes-placed gelding Souper Lucky will race for only the second time in 12 months after running fourth in the Campbell in his first start since last March. He was third to Page McKenney in the 2015 Harrison Johnson, the first of three straight stakes show finishes including the Westchester (G3).
Six of Souper Lucky’s seven career wins have come in 12 starts at Laurel, with one second and two thirds. He was second in the 2016 Campbell and an open allowance at Parx in successive starts before going to the sidelines.
“He’s good. His first race was off the layoff. He had been off for quite a while, so I would hope that he’d move forward for having one,” trainer Mike Trombetta said. “He just had some small minor issues that needed time.
“He needed the last one. He got tired. It was huge to ask him to run that far off a layoff, but he was able to get it under him,” he added. “He seems to like Laurel, and he’s one of those genuine horses that seems to give it a good try every time.”
BB Horses’ Afleet Willy put together three consecutive wins in allowance company at Laurel in December and January before stepping up in the General George (G3) Feb. 18, contesting the pace through a sizzling half-mile of 45.28 seconds until fading late to finish sixth. He is another horse fond of Laurel, with five wins, three seconds and a third from 10 tries.
“Laurel is home,” trainer Claudio Gonzalez said. “This is supposed to be a little easier spot. He came back really good from the last one and he’s doing good. Everything is OK going up to now.”
New York-based Matt King Coal made his Laurel debut last time out with a 4 ¼-length romp in a third-level optional claiming allowance going one mile Feb. 18. It was just his second start since finishing fourth after setting the pace in the then-Grade 1 Wood Memorial last April.
Also entered are Discreet Lover, second in the Richard Small at Laurel Nov. 19; I Came to Party, a second-level allowance winner at Parx March 3; Jeezum Jim, fourth in the Native Dancer two starts back and co-entered in the $75,000 Not For Love; Kaitain, third in the Jennings Dec. 31 at Laurel; and multiple stakes-placed Grasshoppin, most recently eighth in the General George.
Sonny Inspired Tops Competitive Field in $75,000 Not For Love
D Hatman Thoroughbreds’ Sonny Inspired was a force to be reckoned with last winter in Maryland, winning the Fire Plug and Ben’s Cat stakes and finishing third behind Page McKenney in the General George. What followed were five straight off-the-board finishes and a five-month summer break.
After promising efforts in back-to-back starts including a seven-furlong handicap win at Charles Town Feb. 10, his first victory in 11 months, Sonny Inspired goes up against seven fellow Maryland-breds in the $75,000 Not For Love.
“We were a little bit disappointed with him. We gave him some time off for a freshening and brought him back for the series of races over the wintertime here that he had some success in last  year,” trainer Phil Schoenthal said. “He came back and had a couple little minor physical issues, some muscle problems that we were just having a real hard time dealing with and getting him over. We felt like we got him over the hump really the last two races.
“He ran better here in the race two back and then he ran a good race at Charles Town and he’s been training really well since,” he added. “He’s gained about 22 pounds since the last race, so I really feel like he’s back to his old self and he’s ready to run well Saturday.”
Sonny Inspired opened his 6-year-old campaign by overcoming a sluggish start to run third, beaten 3 ¼ lengths by Dubai-bound Imperial Hint, in the six-furlong Fire Plug Jan. 14 at Laurel. Sent off as the favorite at Charles Town, he settled in third early before taking over at the top of the stretch and drawing away to win by a length.
“[The Find] was kind of the typical kind of race that we have come to expect from him. The first two times he had run off the layoff were kind of subpar efforts considering, so it was the kind of race where as a trainer you’re kind of holding your breath because you feel like the horse is going to run well but he’d run two clunkers in a row,” Schoenthal said. “You’re holding your breath hoping he’s all right, and he proved that he was.
“He came out of that race good and Charles Town was the only real spot for him so he ran down there and he ran well again. He’s been training awful good since. I think that he’s going to run real well. It’s going to take a big effort from somebody to beat him,” he added. “There’s some new shooters in there that are kind of new to the Maryland-bred stakes division. Most of them are in real good form right now. It ought to be a real good race. I’m excited for it.”
Stolen Love is entered to make his 58th career start in a race named for his sire, having won a pair of optional claiming allowance sprints at Laurel 17 days apart last month. He was third, beaten less than a length, in his previous stakes try, the Maryland Million Starter Handicap Oct. 22. Nine of his 10 lifetime wins have come at Laurel.
"He ran big the last two times and he’s doing really good,” trainer Claudio Gonzalez said. “He’s a nice horse and he likes Laurel.”
Completing the field are 2016 Maryland Million Sprint winner Nicaradalic Rocks; Blu Moon Ace, making his first start just six days since being claimed for $25,000 by trainer Cory Jensen out of March 12 win at Laurel; Laki, a winner of three straight starts since Dec. 24 in his stakes debut for trainer Damon Dilodovico; Struth and Jeezum Jim.
Eight Older Females Line Up in $75,000 Conniver
Runway Point Farms’ Bawlmer Hon, second at 24-1 in the Maryland Racing Media Feb. 18 at Laurel for trainer Mark Shuman, is set to make her third straight stakes start in the $75,000 Conniver.
Bawlmer Hon, a 4-year-old daughter of multiple Grade 1-winning sprinter Silver Train, finished behind promising filly Winter in each of her past two starts, including the Jan. 21 Nellie Morse where she ran fifth as the favorite. She cuts back to seven furlongs for the first time since last summer, having run at about 1 1/16 miles in four of her last five starts.
If I Was a Boy and Next Best Thing are both coming off recent wins at Laurel. If I Was a Boy rallied for a neck victory in an entry-level allowance going six furlongs March 3, while Next Best Thing captured a one-mile optional claiming allowance by 1 ¾ lengths March 4 despite drifting out late.
“She’s doing good,” Next Best Thing’s trainer, Claudio Gonzalez, said. “She won good the last time going a mile in the two-other-than and she came back good, that’s why I want to run her back. It’s a good time to take a chance now.”
Clem Gem, Great Illusion, Holiday Blues, One Proud Gal and Scip’s Sonata are also entered.
Source: Maryland Jockey Club


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