Updated on 09/17/2011 10:01PM

Laurel: Lusty Latin fires fresh

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Michael Gill's Lusty Latin wins the $75,000 Harrison Johnson Memorial Handicap.

Lusty Latin again fired his best shot coming off a layoff, this time going wire to wire to win the $50,000 Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Handicap at Laurel.

Trained by Mark Shuman for owner Michael Gill, Lusty Latin had come back from a two-month break to win a nonwinners-of-two allowance at Saratoga. Saturday's Johnson Memorial was Lusty Latin's first race since he finished last of eight in the Charles H. Hadry at Pimlico in November.

Ridden by Erick Rodriguez from the rail post Saturday, Lusty Latin went straight to the front, with Stepatatime and Jim Thirds Bolero tracking him in a quarter-mile run in 25.24 seconds and a half in 50.34. Largely unchallenged through six furlongs in 1:14.90, Lusty Latin gradually began to pull away after a mile, and he increased his margin to five lengths at the finish. He ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.03 and paid $7.20 as the favorite in the field of seven.

The 10-1 Ougadougou rallied to get second, three-quarters of a length in front of the third-place finisher, Jim Thirds Bolero.