-photo courtesy Lone Star Park

9-1 Longshot Ernesto Wins $50,000 Bob Johnson Memorial Stakes on Saturday at LSP

Grand Prairie, Texas (Saturday, July 19, 2008) - James P. & Patricia E. Gallagher's Ernesto, trained by Danny Pish, was a surprise winner in the 12th running of the $50,000 Bob Johnson Memorial Stakes for three-year-olds and up, going one mile over turf, at Lone Star Park on Saturday.

Ridden by Justin Shepherd, Ernesto was patiently handled while sitting at the back of the pack through opening fractions of :23.11, :46.53 and 1:10.13. Ernesto, who set a Lone Star Park record of 1:27.67 for seven-and-a-half furlongs on the turf in his last race on July 4, moved outside of horses around the second turn before making a bold run for the lead just outside of the eight-pole. Once clear in deep stretch, he was able to hold off a late bid from Red Rock Creek, who finished a length back in second, Objective finished three lengths back in third. The final time for the one-mile trip over a firm turf course was 1:34.49.

"I just let him run his own race, get him to relax and tried to pick them up around the turn," said winning jockey Justin Shepherd. "He did exactly what I asked and proved the best today. He has a bit turn of foot for a big horse like he is. He kind of drifted in, but they were no match late for him."

With the win, Ernesto improved his record to six wins from 16 starts, and increased his career earnings to $121,307.

Ernesto paid $21.60, $8.60, $4.60, runner-up Red Rock Creek returned $2.60, $2.20, and Objective paid $5.20 for show. Etesaal, Waupaca, Beta Capo, Gold Wonder, Tricky Causeway, and Willow O Wisp completed the order of finish. Red Rock Creek was coupled as an entry with Beta Capo.

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