03/24/2012 6:26PM

Laurel: Eighttofasttocatch repeats in Harrison E. Johnson

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Maryland Jockey Club/Jim McCue
Eighttofasttocatch, with Sheldon Russell riding, wins the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial for the second straight year.

Eighttofasttocatch survived an extended pace duel at Laurel Park on Saturday to earn a repeat victory in the $92,950 Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes.

After leading the field through an opening quarter-mile in 24.66 seconds in the 1 1/8-mile Johnson, Eighttofasttocatch, with Sheldon Russell riding, was second to Cherokee Artist after a half-mile run in 48.90 seconds. Those two went together through a six-furlong time of 1:13.39, with Cherokee Artist leading by a head at that point. After being fanned out wide by Cherokee Artist entering the stretch, Eighttofasttocatch took the lead in midstretch and drove clear to a length victory.

Cherokee Artist held second by 2 1/2 lengths over third-place Indian Jones. Concealed Identity, Regal Warrior, and Thomas Got Even completed the order of finish.

Eighttofasttocatch, a 6-year-old Maryland-bred by Not For Love, finished in 1:53.43 over a good, sealed track on a showery afternoon. Trained by Tim Keefe for Sylvia E. Heft, he paid $2.40 as the favorite.