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Ground Transport Delivers In Harrison Johnson Stakes
LAUREL, MD. 03-22-14---Ground Transport and Mr Palmer ran 1-2 all the way around and that’s how they finished in the $100,000 Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Handicap for three-year-olds and up at Laurel Park Saturday afternoon.
West Point Thoroughbreds, St. Elias Stable & Get Grounded Stable own Ground Transport, who shipped from Fair Grounds to win the mile and one eighth test, his first stakes victory.
At the finish, Trevor McCarthy and the son of Big Brown were 3-1/4 lengths ahead of Mr Palmer. It was another 3-1/2 lengths back to Swift Warrior, who bettered Behemoth by a half-length.
“The plan was for us to go for the lead and control the pace and we were able to slow the pace down,” McCarthy said. “That gave us lots of horse for the lane and it worked out very well. He can be a tricky horse to ride and has to have his way. Today he got it. Once we got to the three-eighths pole we were confident but when we got to the 1/8th pole I thought I was the winner.”
Ground Transport covered the distance in 1:52.17 and paid $8.60. Michael Stidham trains the winner. He is now two-of-four this year, including a fourth place finish in the Mineshaft Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds last month.
“I told Trevor if they give us an easy lead we’d be there. If not, rate him and just ride it as it comes up,” said assistant trainer Chris Davis. “We brought him in here Thursday morning and trained him yesterday. Obviously he likes it here, just a consummate professional. The trainer and I are on the same page. He’s one of those trainers who doesn’t give you a lot of instructions because too much can get a horse beat. Trevor rode him perfectly. Got him settled, relaxed him and took him home.”
McCarthy is in position to capture his first riding title with a commanding lead in the jockey standings. The 19-year-old apprentice has ridden 51 winners, 16 more than Victor Carrasco.
About Laurel Park
Laurel Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horse racing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horse racing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.