Among Five Stakes Worth $450,000 in Purses Saturday, March 19
LAUREL, Md. – Bird Mobberley and Grady Griffin’s Galerio, having checked a stakes victory off his to-do list last time out, will go after his second in a row tackling six rivals in Saturday’s $100,000 Harrison E. Johnson Memorial at Laurel Park.
The 36th running of the Johnson for 4-year-olds and up, cut back from 1 1/8 miles to one mile for 2022, is among five stakes worth $450,000 in purses on an 11-race program co-headlined by the $100,000 Private Terms for 3-year-olds and $100,000 Beyond the Wire for 3-year-old fillies.
Rounding out the stakes action are a pair of $75,000 stakes for older Maryland-bred/sired sprinters, the six-furlong Not For Love and seven-furlong Conniver, the latter for females.
First race post time is 12:40 p.m.
Galerio, a 6-year-old Jump Start gelding bred in Maryland, has finished first or second in 25 of 33 lifetime starts including 10 wins, and had placed in six stakes before holding off Forewarned for a nose triumph in the 1 1/16-mile John B. Campbell Feb. 19 at Laurel.
The breakthrough stakes win came in the fourth start since trainer John Salzman Jr. claimed him for $50,000 out of a runner-up finish last November. In two previous stakes attempts off the claim, Galerio was fourth by 1 ½ lengths in the Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial and third by two lengths behind Cordmaker in the Jan. 29 Jennings, both restricted races.
Galerio was second and Cordmaker third in the 2021 Jennings before Cordmaker ended his losing streak in last year’s Johnson, finishing a length ahead of runner-up Galerio. Cordmaker won the General George (G3) on the Campbell undercard last month.
“Believe it or not, that was why I claimed him. I had watched where he ran and gotten beaten a length or two lengths in these races last year, and ran his eyeballs out,” Salzman said. “He was getting beat by a decent horse. Cordmaker beat him, and he beat Cordmaker. That was what sold me on him.
“When I called my owners and told them, ‘If I can move him up at all, if I move him up a length, he’s going to win a stake. I think it’s worth taking a chance,’” he added. “They agreed, so we did it, and we got lucky to do it. I was starting to wonder there for a little bit whether I was going to get a stake win with him or not.”
Galerio has earned $514,250 in purses over his career and is graded-stakes placed, having run third behind Informative in the 2021 Salvator Mile (G3). J.D. Acosta gets the return call from Post 2 in a field of seven.
“He’s doing super. Do I have to run him back in a stake? I don’t, but Cordmaker’s not showing up so I think he’s going to be one of the choices. I hope,” Salzman said. “He runs big every time. He deserved it for sure.”
Also coming out of the Campbell are Gentleman Joe, Torch of Truth and Bobby G, respectively third, fifth and seventh. Mary Jo Kuehn’s Gentleman Joe was beaten three lengths after dueling for the lead and forging a short lead after six furlongs in his second career stakes and first since July 2019.
Marie Trombetta’s Torch of Truth ran evenly in the Campbell, his 27th lifetime start and third in a stakes following fourths in the 2019 and 2021 Maryland Million Classic. He beat Gentleman Joe by three-quarters of a length when first in a 1 1/8-mile optional claiming allowance Jan. 21 at Laurel.
“He kind of ran his race last time. That race just went extraordinarily fast that day,” trainer Michael Trombetta said. “I don’t know if those horses are going to bring that game back again or not, but he kind of fits with them. The first few finishers really stepped up their game on that given day. They wound up running faster from a Beyer [Speed Figure] standpoint than the General George did.”
Bobby G is an 8-year-old gelding that owns 16 career wins, 14 coming at Laurel, and is seeking his first stakes success after running third in the 2019 Richard W. Small and second in the 2020 Claiming Crown Iron Horse. Also entered are Dontmesawithme, Whiskey and You and Workin On a Dream.
Maryland Jockey Club Press Release
Photo: Galerio winning the John B. Campbell at Laurel Park. (Jerry Dee/Maryland Jockey Club)