BALTIMORE, Md. – R. Larry Johnson’s Maryland homebred A Great Time delivered exactly that for his connections, flying on the far outside to sweep past the field and get up by a length in Thursday’s $100,000 The Very One.
Ridden by Julian Pimentel for trainer Mike Trombetta, A Great Time ($23.40) had placed twice previously in stakes company without a win, including a neck defeat in the 2019 Jameela at nearby Laurel Park. The winning time was 1:00.14 over turf course labeled yielding.
“We didn’t know she would handle it this well,” Trombetta said. “This is huge, because she was multiple stakes placed but to make her stakes winner is important. It came at the right time.”
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Having raced on or near the lead in her most recent races, A Great Time raced next-to-last in the 12-horse field settled on the inside as Giggling ran the first quarter in 22.24 seconds. Defending champion Wild About Star took command once straightened for home and Mr. Al’s Gal made a strong bid up the rail, but Pimentel patiently waited behind a wall of horses before tipping A Great Time outside for her dramatic finish.
“Julian does a great job,” Trombetta said. “It was totally left up to him and, honestly, I was doubting his tactics going down the backside. I was like, ‘Oh, geez, this is going to be tough.’ But, that’s why he does what he does.”
Mr. Al’s Gal was second, three-quarters of a length in front of Hear My Prayer. It was another length back to Wild About Star in fourth, while 4-5 favorite and 2019 runner-up Jo Jo Air was passed late by Dendrobia and finished sixth.
“She’s been well-traveled. Every times it seems like we’ve entered her this summer, it’s rained. We took her all the way up to Saratoga to run in a stake only to get rained off and take her all the way back,” Trombetta said. “It was nice to get a chance to run here in this race today.”
Purchased out of a 1977 Maryland 2-year-old sale in Timonium for $22,000 by Maryland horsewoman Helen Polinger, The Very One went on to become one of the best race mares in training from 1977-81. A former claimer turned Grade 1 winner, she won 22 races and more than $1.1 million in purses from 71 starts, with eight graded-stakes wins including the 1979 Dixie (G2) at Pimlico and 1981 Santa Barbara Handicap (G1).
Photo: A Good Time. Credit: Maryland Jockey Club