03/21/2015 4:50PM

By the Moon impressive in Caesar's Wish score

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
By the Moon scores by four lengths under Victor Carrasco in the Caesar's Wish for 3-year-old fillies.

Grade 1 winner By the Moon overpowered her six rivals in the $100,000 Caesar’s Wish Stakes at Laurel Park on Saturday, signaling she is poised for a big 3-year-old season.

By the Moon pressed the early pace of 28-1 longshot Country Mama under jockey Victor Carrasco, took the lead nearing the stretch of the one-turn mile, and then showed her class by edging away from a host of pursuers to win by four lengths.

The effort was a big step forward from her 3-year-old debut in the Grade 2 Forward Gal, a race in which she made a four-wide move on the far turn, opened a clear lead in upper stretch, and then flattened out to finish fifth.

The Forward Gal had been By the Moon’s first start since a year-end freshening and it appeared her rider may have asked her to move prematurely.

Trainer Michelle Nevin gave By the Moon six works between the Forward Gal and the Caesar’s Wish, and the Jay Em Ess Stable homebred daughter of Indian Charlie was all business Saturday.

“I’m extremely happy,” Nevin said by phone after the race. “She was nice and bright, and very professional.”

Nevin said she wanted to see how By the Moon came out of the race before making any next-race plans.

Last year at 2, By the Moon won the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont Park and was second in the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga. Both of those races came over sloppy tracks. The track at Laurel on Saturday was listed as muddy.

By the Moon paid $3.80 to win as the favorite in the seven-horse field. She covered the mile in 1:38.20. The fractions were 24.55, 48.79, 1:13.69, and 1:25.88.

Been Here Before, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, finished second after saving ground to the stretch.

Gypsy Judy, the 5-2 second choice, finished third, 2 1/2 lengths farther back. She had a tricky trip, having to race between rivals around the far turn.

Hot City Girl finished fourth after racing four wide on the far turn.

Conniver: Eddy Gourmet takes charge on turn

Eddy Gourmet scored her second straight victory since adding blinkers in the $100,000 Conniver, a seven-furlong race for Maryland-bred fillies and mares.

Eddy Gourmet, the 7-2 fourth choice in the seven-horse race, blew to the lead outside longshot Turf Craze on the far turn and was never seriously challenged while winning by 7 3/4 lengths under jockey Sheldon Russell.

“She’s very aggressive, and the plan was to get her to relax, but she dragged me to the lead today,” Russell said.

Printasticat and If Not for Her, the top two wagering choices at 2-1, chased Eddy Gourmet home but had to settle for second and third. Printasticat bested If Not for Her by three-quarters of a length. If Not For Her was sent off a slight favorite.

Eddy Gourmet, trained by Hugh McMahon, covered seven furlongs in the mud in 1:23.50. The half-mile went in 45.78 and Eddy Gourmet covered six furlongs in 1:10.60. She paid $9.20.

In her prior start, Eddy Gourmet had won a second-level optional claiming race at seven furlongs.

Jonesin for Jerry, the third betting choice at 5-2, finished fifth after racing wide on the far turn.

Johnson Memorial: Page McKenney runs huge

Page McKenney showed better speed from the gate than usual in the $100,000 Harrison Johnson Memorial Stakes but settled back off the pace by the time the field reached the backstretch of the 1 1/8-mile race.

Jockey Horacio Karamanos asked Page McKenney to go after the leaders on the far turn and he took the lead three wide entering the stretch. Page McKenney powered home over the muddy track to win by four lengths.

The win was Page McKenney’s second consecutive victory in a stakes and the 10th since trainer Mary Eppler claimed him for $16,000 in July 2013. A 5-year-old gelding, he has finished second or better in 11 of his last 12 starts.

Page McKenney was timed for the nine furlongs in 1:50.88 after fractions of 48.16 and 1:12.51. He paid $6.40 as the second Choice in the five-horse field.

When Page McKenney settled off the pace early, Going to Market moved to the front. Souper Lucky, the even-money favorite, took the lead on the far turn and entering the stretch there was a three-horse battle for the lead with Souper Lucky along the inside, Adirondack King between horses, and Page McKenney outside horses.

Adirondack King bested Souper Lucky for second by 3 1/4 lengths.