02/14/2015 5:58PM

Page McKenney overcomes tough trip to win Campbell Handicap

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Page McKenney wins the John B. Campbell Handicap on Saturday at Laurel Park.

LAUREL, Md. - Page McKenney didn't have the smoothest journey, but once Horacio Karamanos got him to the outside on the far turn, he dug in and was up to win a four-horse battle to the wire Saturday in the Grade 3 John B. Campbell Handicap at Laurel Park.

Behemoth, who won the 2014 Campbell, finished second by a neck while racing just inside the winner. It was another head back to the 75-1 longshot A.P. Cinco in third, who was outside the winner, and a half-length back to the late-closing Sailor's Revenge in fourth on the far outside.

Cerro set the early pace on an open lead. Karamanos eased Page McKenney back off the pace on the backstretch but ended up trapped inside horses. Karamanos wheeled Page Mckenney five wide on the stretch turn, and he turned in a gutsy stretch run to claim the victory.

The win was Page McKenney's ninth since being claimed for $16,000 at Penn National in July 2013 by trainer Mary Eppler.

"This horse is so honest," Eppler said. "He does everything that you ask of him."

Page McKenney, a 5-year-old gelding, now has won 10 of 32 starts and $447,078. He paid $8.20 as the favorite in the nine-horse field and covered 1 1/8 miles over a dull but fast track in 1:51.88.

"He relaxed behind the speed for me," Karamanos said. "I had to wait for a little while, and then I swung my horse outside. He tried to hang a little bit, but he did what he had to."

Cerro held the lead into the final furlong but weakened to finish fifth.

Cosmic Gold was pulled up in the stretch and vanned off with an apparent injury to his left hind ankle.

Maryland Racing Media Stakes

Lunar Surge, last early, stayed to the inside throughout and was up to gain the lead inside the front-running Flores Island in deep stretch of the $100,000 Maryland Racing Media Stakes.

Luna Surge, trained by George Weaver and ridden by Jose Ortiz, scored by a length while covering nine furlongs in 1:52.41. A 5-year-old mare, Lunar Surge now is 3 for 17 with earnings of $257,050. Luna Surge paid $7.80 as the favorite in the 10-horse field.

"She broke well but got in trouble on the first turn," Ortiz said. "I tried to save all the ground I could. I had an option to go four or six wide or wait and take a chance on the rail. My move paid off. When I cut in and asked her for run, she took off." 

Flores Island, trained by Marty Wolfson set the pace until deep stretch but was overtaken by the winner late. The third-place Luna Time raced forwardly throughout, angled outward in upper stretch, but lacked the needed kick.