LAUREL, MD. 11-29-08---R. Larry Johnson’s Now It Begins bounded to the lead and then led to the very final jump, narrowly holding on to win the $50,000 Squan Song Stakes for fillies and mares at Laurel Park.

Second by a neck in this race last year after leading every step of the way, Now It Begins carried jockey Charles Forrest to victory in 1:25.12 for the seven furlong distance over the fast main track. Mike Trombetta trains the daughter of Two Punch.

Fascinatin’ Rhythm and post time favorite Vicar’s Vixen stalked the winner through the far turn, then ranged up and fought three abreast the rest of the way, with the former surging late and missing by a head and the latter flattening out to finish another 2-1/4 lengths back in third.

Now It Begins paid $19.40. The 11-9 exacta returned $68.80 and the 11-9-10 triple paid $186.00.

Forrest said, “I had a lot of horse left. She relaxed and made the lead easily. When they made the run at me I got there at the wire. She’s been a problem horse and I’ve been getting on her (in the morning), getting along with her just fine and it all worked out.”

The win capped a huge week for Trombetta, who won six of 10 races this week at the central Maryland track, including top level allowance races with multiple stakes winners Cave’s Valley and Eternal Star.

“We are very happy,” Trombetta said. “It has been off the charts.”

Earlier on the card the Scott Lake barn won its 400th race of the year when Sophisticated Lady took the second race. During this decade Lake has 3,801 victories, including 823 trips to the winners’ circle at Laurel and Pimlico. He leads all conditioners in Maryland with 106 first place finishes this year and will win his fourth consecutive training title. The 43-year-old ranks seventh on the all-time win list with 4,483 wins.