Johnny Hop Wins 1st Time Out
Johnny Hop made his debut a winning one on Saturday at Laurel Park for owners West Point Thoroughbreds, Robert Masiello, and 3C Stables.
Trained by Graham Motion, the son of Kentucky Derby runner-up Bodemeister went off favored following a series of good workouts at Fair Hill Training Center. Ridden by Trevor McCarthy, Johnny Hop tracked the leader before sticking his nose in front midway on the turn and holding off a determined foe.
"He broke really sharp today," McCarthy said. "I was surprised. I didn't think he'd break that sharp. Graham just wanted to see him run a good race. He was in a bit of a hurry there. I would have rather have covered him up and teach him a little something. But he did everything so easy. At the top of stretch, I was just hand-riding him, and he moved up easy on his own. That [Honor the Fleet] ... I was working that horse before. When he kind of hooked me I just gave him a little encouragement, and he was pretty game for me."
“He’s gotten very competitive in his training the past few weeks, and all of my exercise riders love him,” said Motion. “We had him up to five-eighths over the summer before having to stop on him due to an ankle issue. I think it could have been a blessing in disguise because he’s come back a bigger, more mature three-year-old.”
Added West Point president Terry Finley, “He’s by Bodemeister out of a Smart Strike mare so it’s exciting to think about what he can do going long. It sounds cliche, but he was the colt we had to have at the OBS March Sale last year.”
Johnny Hop was named by part-owner Robert Masiello and his wife Skye, both graduates of Johns Hopkins University.