Nimitz Class notches yet another stakes triumph (Maryland Jockey Club)
Maryland Jockey Club Press Release
LAUREL, Md.— Bred in Pennsylvania and based at Penn National, Thomas Coulter’s Nimitz Class has made Maryland his home away from home, rolling to a third consecutive stakes victory at Laurel Park with a popular 6 ¼-length triumph in Saturday’s $100,000 Harrison E. Johnson Memorial at Laurel Park.
The 35th running of the one-mile Harrison Johnson for 4-year-olds and up was the third of five stakes worth $450,000 in purses following a pair of $75,000 events for older Maryland-bred/sired horses, the seven-furlong Conniver for females and six-furlong Not For Love.
Ridden by Jevian Toledo for trainer Bruce Kravets, Nimitz Class ($3.20) completed the one-turn mile in 1:36.43 over a fast main track for his third straight win following the Feb. 18 John B. Campbell and Dec. 30 Robert T. Manfuso, both going about 1 1/16 miles.
“I just think this horse wants to run a mile, whether it’s a flat mile or even further,” Kravets said. “I think he’ll run up to a mile and a quarter.”
Stakes winner Hello Hot Rod outran Nimitz Class to the lead and held it after going a quarter-mile in 24.21 seconds, with the 3-5 favorite stalking just to his outside. The half went in 47.26 as Nimitz Class eased past Hello Hot Rod without urging and straightened for home in command, opening up on his own through the lane.
Kelso (G2) winner Double Crown, sent off at 35-1, nosed fellow multiple stakes winner Ournationonparade for second. It was five lengths back to American Patrol in fourth, followed by Rough Sea, American d’Oro and Hello Hot Rod. Treasure Trove was scratched.
Nimitz Class now has three wins from four career races at Laurel, also finishing second in the seven-furlong Concern last summer. Overall, the 4-year-old Munnings colt has won eight of 14 lifetime starts.
“I think this horse will run just about anywhere that we take him. He loves it down here in Maryland,” Kravets said. “We like the tack surface, the track, everything about it.”
The Harrison E. Johnson honors the Bowie-based trainer who died at age 45 in the crash of a plane he was piloting from Saratoga to Virginia. A native of Adelphi, Md., his best horse was 1973 Hopeful (G1) winner Gusty O’Shay, named that year’s Maryland-bred 2-year-old champion.