03/29/2008 12:00AM

Arcata wins photo finish


Only five horses went to the gate in the $62,200 Harrison E. Johnson Memorial at Laurel Park, but it took a photo to separate two of them at the finish as Arcata bobbed his head at the right time to nose out a persistent Eddie C. in the 1 1/8-mile race.

Ridden by Jeremy Rose for trainer Graham Motion, Arcata trailed in fifth place early, then pulled closer to the pack as Forty Crowns, Kaufy Big Shot, and Saratoga Lulaby contested the lead. After closely tracking fractions of 23.84 seconds, 47.43, and 1:12.73 for six furlongs, jockey J.D. Acosta put Eddie C., the favorite in the betting, into a four-wide drive entering the final turn. Arcata found his way out of a tight spot along the rail, engaged the leader, and looked to have Eddie C. put away, but his rival re-rallied and the two fought hard to the wire.

A 4-year-old gelding, Arcata ($10) covered the distance in 1:53.00 on a track rated fast. The Johnson was his first stakes win and his fifth victory overall in 10 career starts.