General George winner Something Awesome returns in Harrison Johnson
Something Awesome ran through the snow to win the Grade 3 General George. Photo by Laurie Asseo.
From a Maryland Jockey Club release
Stronach Stable’s homebred Something Awesome was up for the challenge when facing graded company for the first time, rallying from well back to win the seven-furlong General George (G3) Feb. 17 in just his third career stakes attempt.
Four weeks later the 7-year-old gelding will break new ground again in his latest engagement, stretching out another two furlongs for the first time in Saturday’s $100,000 Harrison E. Johnson at Laurel Park.
The 33rd running of the 1 1/8-mile Harrison Johnson for 3-year-olds and up is among five stakes worth $450,000 in purses on an 11-race St. Patrick’s Day program highlighted by the $100,000 Private Terms for 3-year-olds. First race post time is 1:10 p.m.
Something Awesome, the 9-5 favorite, has won three of his four starts since being moved to trainer Jose Corrales last fall, his only loss coming by three-quarters of a length in the six-furlong Fire Plug Stakes Jan. 20 in his seasonal debut. He faced a similar field in the General George, where he trailed by as many as 13 lengths after a quarter-mile before coming with a dramatic late run on the far outside to win by a neck over multiple graded-stakes winner Awesome Banner.
“I wasn’t thinking it was a Grade 3 race. I know the horses that we were running against because he ran with them the time before and just got beat less than a length,” Corrales said. “He went back and now was going seven furlongs and when it [snowed] I knew it was going to help him but you’ve still got to win the race to be able to say you did it.”
“He ran huge,” he added. “I have looked at the replays and he really made a good move and he made that move by the wire even though another horse was kicking at the end, too. But like I always say, there’s only one wire. No matter how you get it as long as you get there in front, you win.”
Something Awesome drew the rail in a field of eight and will carry 118 pounds including Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado, aboard for a four-length optional claiming triumph last November in the first start for Corrales. He had been ridden in his past three starts by Corrales’ nephew, Elvis Trujillo, who was injured in a March 10 spill at Laurel.
By Awesome Again, a multiple Grade 1 winner of more than $4 million in purse earnings capped by the 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic, Something Awesome has run as far as 1 1/16 miles four times previously, twice on dirt and once each on turf and synthetics, with two thirds.
“He came back good and he’s training good. He bounced out of the last race right away and he’s doing well,” Corrales said. “Distance-wise, I’m OK with it. He’s training very well and I feel comfortable myself. But again he has not gone the distance yet so you have a little bit of doubt, but you never know. He comes from a family that can run a distance and I think he can put it all together.”
Assigned 120-pound topweight for the Harrison Johnson is Leon Blusiewicz’s Admiral Blue, a 5-year-old Maryland-bred son of Admiral Alex who will break from outside Post 8 under Feargal Lynch for New York-based trainer Rudy Rodriguez.
Blusiewicz previously trained Admiral Blue including past stakes attempts in the Stymie and Excelsior (G3) at Aqueduct last spring, before turning him over to Rodriguez. Outrun in his 2018 debut, his first start in nearly nine months, he returned with a 2 ¾-length open entry-level allowance victory going 1 1/8 miles Feb. 1.
“He looks like he came out of the race in good shape. He looks good, he looks healthy and it looks like a good spot for him,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a mile and an eighth and we’re going to try to keep him at a mile and an eighth. It looks like the distance suits him perfect so hopefully he can give us another good race. He’s going to have to step up because the conditions are a little tougher but that’s what we have to do.”
Richard Hackerman’s 9-year-old homebred Warrioroftheroses, third in the 2016 Pimilico Special (G3), will make his 53rd career start in the Harrison Johnson looking for his 11th win and first since second-level off-the-turf optional claimer last summer at Delaware Park.
Most recently, the A.P. Warrior gelding was fifth after stalking the pace in a third-level optional claimer going about 1 1/16 miles Jan. 19 at Laurel in his seasonal bow.
“He always tries. He might be in the twilight of his career, but he’s been training very well,” trainer Damon Dilodovico said. “We thought he’s doing well, so let’s give him a shot. He’s put together a couple decent efforts, and maybe we’ll get lucky here.”
Completing the field are 2017 Swatara Stakes winner Discreet Lover; Zanotti and Dattt Melody, second and third, respectively, in the 1 1/8-mile John B. Campbell Feb. 17 at Laurel last out; Doyouknowsomething, beaten a nose in the 1 1/8-mile Jazil Jan. 20 at Aqueduct; and Grasshoppin, sixth in the General George.