When the competition was nowhere to be found, D. J. Stable and Cash is King's promising 2-year-old Super John went looking for it himself.
Eight lengths in front of his closest pursuer with the length of the stretch still ahead, Super John drifted toward the outside rail approaching the wire before being corrected by jockey Sheldon Russell and coasted to a 19 ½-length romp Thursday at Laurel Park.
Trained by John Servis and sired by Super Saver, both Kentucky Derby (G1) winners, Super John ($5.20) ran one mile in 1:39.67 in the $40,000 maiden special weight for juveniles that was rained off the grass to a fast main track.
It was the second career start for Super John, a narrow second choice at 8-5 in the field of six and hailing from the same connections that campaigned multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Jaywalk, the 2-year-old filly champion of 2018.
“It was a good race. He broke from the outside and got away nicely and secured a nice, easy lead,” Russell said. “If anything, when I got him to the front he was looking around the whole race. You can see it. I let a horse run up inside and it was just to give him some company. He had his ears pricked and he was never like tugging me along, so he was just waiting for the company.”
Breaking from the far outside, Russell kept Super John in the clear as Christophe Clement-trained favorite Percentage forced the issue along the rail through fractions of 24.01 and 48.14 seconds. After letting Percentage creep within a head at the half-mile mark, Russell let Super John loose and the bay colt opened up before taking the scenic route home. Percentage finished second, with Jasiri third.
“In the stretch, I just felt like he was playing so I tried to open him up because I didn't really want to get swallowed up. He opened up and he just started wandering around like he was lost,” Russell said. “All of a sudden at the first wire or just before, he just started veering out and I think that was just greenness. I didn't expect it. He caught me off guard. I was just lucky he kept going forward as he was doing it. Definitely I think blinkers would help him be even better. He gave me the feel of a really nice one.”
Super John was purchased for $180,000 as a 2-year-old in training at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's spring auction in March. He debuted July 15 at Parx, showing late energy to be fourth of 10 in a 4 ½-furlong maiden special weight sprint on the dirt, beaten five lengths.
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