Nutshell: John B. Campbell winner Page McKenney — in the money in seven straight stakes — leads a good field in the Harrison Johnson Memorial Stakes at Laurel Park.
From a Maryland Jockey Club release
The ever consistent Page McKenney heads a field of eight runners set to go to the post in the $100,000 Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes Saturday at Laurel Park.
The 5-year-old gelded son of Eavesdropper has not finished off the board in 12 starts since last April and has finished in-the-money in seven straight stake events. The chestnut most recently captured Laurel’s John B. Campbell Handicap on Feb. 14 in his seasonal debut. He also won the First Responder Stakes at Parx and the Robellino Stakes at Penn National in 2014.
“He came out of [the John B. Campbell] perfect,” trainer Mary Eppler said. “He’s just consistent. I can’t tell you why he’s consistent. He just is. He’s a very easy horse to train, and he has a ton of heart.”
Eppler acquired Page McKenney out of a $16,000 claiming event at Penn National in July of 2013, and the investment has more than paid dividends. She stepped her trainee up one class level at a time and was ultimately rewarded with more than $300,000 in purse earnings in 2014 alone.
“When I claimed him, I kept him in some starter races,” Eppler said. “I ran him back for [a $25,000 tag] and then in two starter races after that and made it just a little bit tougher each time he ran until he told me it was okay to go ahead and try him in a stake. Since I’ve had him, I’ve only been off the board twice with him. So, he’s shown up every time I’ve run him against tougher.”
The 1 1/8-mile Johnson Memorial field also includes Souper Lucky. A 4-year-old gelded son of Giant’s Causeway, Souper Lucky returned from a sixth-place finish in the John B. Campbell to win an allowance at Laurel by an emphatic 9 ¾ lengths on March 12 for trainer Michael Trombetta. Other entrants are Adirondack King, a two-time stakes winner at Parx, and Mail, who captured the Traskwood Stakes at Aqueduct on Dec. 27. Turco Bravo (CHI), Concealed Identity, A. P. Cino, and Going to the Market round out the field.
- Page McKenney (3-1)
- Souper Lucky (5-2)
- Adirondack King (6-1)
- Turco Bravo (4-1)
- Mail (4-1)
- Concealed Identity (15-1)
- A. P. Cino (20-1)
- Going to Market (10-1)