Sunday, March 22, 2009


LAUREL, MD. 03-21-09---Lee Christian’s St John’s Gospel, the longest price on the board, took on the overwhelming favorite and beat him to the finish line in the $50,000 Private Terms Stakes for 3-year-olds at Laurel Park.

St John’s Gospel had won a restricted stakes at Philadelphia Park last year but his effort this afternoon unveiled a turn of speed and a finishing kick that produced a front running, $35.40 victory over the 1-2 favorite, Not for Silver.

Hector Ramos sent the gelded son of Activist to the front in the one mile test, guided him through pedestrian fractions and had enough gas in the tank to come back on Not for Silver when that one moved to the lead in the drive to the wire. St John’s Gospel won by a head in 1:37.62. The 5-8 exacta paid $94.60. Hehasnosay rallied for third, triggering a $652.60 trifecta.

Ramos has been aboard for all seven of his starts, including a third place finish behind Russell Road in the Dancing Count Stakes on January 31 and a fourth place finish in the Miracle Wood Stakes on February 28.

“Last time I was behind horses and had to check a couple of times, but this time they let me take an easy lead,” Ramos said. “I knew the favorite had a lot of speed and my plans were to stay behind the leaders but my horse broke sharp so I let him go. I thought were beat but down the stretch but he responded when I asked. He put his head down and fought for the wire.”

Andrea Gonzalez trains St John’s Gospel at Philadelphia Park.

“The owner told me to scratch this morning but I knew we had a chance,” Gonzalez said. “The last time we were down here he got into a lot of trouble early and he was flat at the end. I always thought he wanted to go two turns. Even with this being a one turn mile, we thought going a mile would be better for him.”

Not for Silver, from the powerful Mike Trombetta barn, was looking to begin his career with four consecutive victories.

“He ran a huge race,” said Julian Pimentel, who rode the favorite. “When he got in front of that horse he kind of shied away which is surprising because he has never done that.”

Seven of the previous 19 winners of the Private Terms ended up competing in the Preakness® Stakes later that spring, including Magic Weisner, who finished second in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown seven years ago.


The Laurel Park racing office will add turf racing to the mix for the first time this year with a pair of 1- 1/16th mile tests on the Thursday, March 26 card.

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