LAUREL, MD. 03-28-09---Mitchell Ranch LLC, Frank Lewkowitz & Joe Rice’s Bullsbay made amends for a disappointing stakes appearance at Laurel Park with a daring, rail skimming victory in the $50,000 Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Handicap.

A near-miss second in the John B. Campbell Handicap over President’s day weekend, Bullsbay took the short way home in this nine furlong test over the sloppy main track. Tucked in along the fence under Jeremy Rose for much of the race, Rose steered the Graham Motion trainee around the tiring pacesetter, dove back to the rail and in a furious drive, pushed by Senior and Brady Baby to secure the win.

Bullsbay completed the distance in 1:50.33 and won by three-quarters of a length. Senor finished second, while Admiral’s Cruise rallied to reach third. Bullsbay paid $6.60 and topped a $117.20 exacta and $759.40 triple.

“Last time was partly my fault,” said Rose. “I didn’t know the horse that well. He just kind of sputters on you when you take the lead. Graham and I talked about it today. We were going to keep him covered up until I had to absolutely move and we just sat him in there until he went through and finished up good. I felt it was going to open up at some point. The longer he’s covered up the better off he is. I wasn’t panicking too much. I think he was the best horse last time and he was obviously the best horse this time.”

The son of Tiznow made his 2009 debut with a runner-up finish in the Grade III Hal’s Hope Stakes at Gulfstream on January 3 and then was eased in the Grade I Donn Handicap four weeks later before shipping to Motion’s home base at the Fair Hill Training Center.

“When he came back from Florida we tried to figure out what happened to him in the Donn but we couldn’t find out what was wrong with him,” said Motion’s assistant Adrian Rolls. “The change to Fair Hill has suited him. He has really trained well the last couple weeks and we felt confident he would run well.”

Bullsbay is now five-for-14 lifetime with 11 in the money finishes for earnings of $233,913.


Seventeen chili teams from four mid-Atlantic states took part in the first annual Laurel District Chili Cook-off, an event recognized by the International Chili Society.

Red Chili winner: Nancy Bremer (Upper Marlboro, MD) $300 + trophy

Chili Verde winner: Noelle Kneimeyer/Blame the Dog Chili (Reston, VA) $200 + trophy

Salsa winner: Greg Kneimeyer/Blame the Dog Chili (Reston, VA) $140 + trophy

People’s Choice winner: Newbury Family Chili Pot (Bowie, MD) $100 + trophy

Judges included Baltimore radio personality Ed Norris, retired jockey Rick Wilson, Laurel Park-based trainer Tim Keefe and Maryland Jockey Club officials Tom Chuckas and Georganne Hale.