John's Decision is Mistletoe winner


LAUREL -- John's Decision splashed her way to a hard-fought triumph in the $54,575 Mistletoe Stakes at Laurel Race Course yesterday. Her victory may have opened a door that her owner closed two weeks ago.

John's Decision races in the colors of Janet Wayson, wife of Morgan "Sonny" Wayson Jr. The Waysons recently sold Thirty Eight Go Go -- an earner of over $850,000 -- but yesterday, they found themselves with another stakes winner.

"I hate to say it, but [the turn of events] was in the back of my mind," Wayson said.

John's Decision and Bursting rallied to the lead in deep stretch in the 1 1/8 -mile race for 2-year-old fillies. Bursting held a slim lead in the final yards, but John's Decision finally went past her to win by a nose.

"I honestly didn't think we could win today," winning trainer King Leatherbury said. "I thought we were going for third money."

F: John's Decision, fifth choice in a field of seven, was

timed in 1 minute, 54 4/5 seconds over a muddy track.

Swing Together and Debutant's Halo led before being overtaken in the stretch.

"There were two speed horses in the race," said Edgar Prado, who rode John's Decision. "I had a chance [to gain on them] at the half-mile pole. When I asked her, she really responded."

John's Decision had won two of seven prior starts -- a maiden- $12,000 race, and an allowance race by disqualification. Her Mistletoe victory suggests she still may be learning and improving.

* Jockey Andrea Seefeldt took off all mounts yesterday for the second straight program after being diagnosed Saturday with a bruised kidney. Seefeldt suffered the injury Dec. 14 when Littlebitoflove flipped in the post parade.

"Her head hit me in the lower back," Seefeldt said. "If all goes well, I could be back riding Saturday."

* Race-caller Jehan Malherbe ended a three-week guest stint at Laurel yesterday, then left for his home in South Africa last night. John Curran will call the races on an interim basis through March 12.

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