Eighttofasttocatch led from start to finish in the $75,000 Jennings Handicap on Saturday at Laurel Park.
First away from the gate under Sheldon Russell, the 5-year-old son of Not For Love opened up on his five rivals through the turn, where Russell gave him a breather until the pack began to close in. Then, with just a little urging, Eighttofasttocatch ran to a 4 1/4-length victory in 1 minute, 35.76 seconds for the mile distance.
Indian Dance finished second, and Concealed Identity took third.
Tim Keefe trains Eighttofasttocatch, who has won five starts this year, including the Harrison Johnson Memorial, the Japan Racing Association Stakes and the Maryland Million Classic. "Tim and I had spoken about it, and it looked on paper he was the fastest horse, even under rating, so as soon as the gates open, I just took one hold and got him to relax as much as I could. He enjoyed it," Russell said. "I was making sure that when I was on the lead I didn't have anybody surprise me, so when I felt them coming close behind me I just made sure I had my horse's attention, and at the top of the lane, he gave me everything he had."
Said Keefe: "We were hoping for a good effort today. The intention was to get him to relax and settle and he has. With no speed in here we thought more than likely we'd be in front. He was able to go slow enough and rate on the front end."
Eigthttofasttocatch paid $3.80. Keefe and Russell completed the late daily double when Nightswimming ($3.40) captured the final race of the afternoon.