BALTIMORE, JULY 4 -- After riding prerace favorite Little Bold John to victory in the $54,725 Fort McHenry Handicap at Pimlico today, Donald Miller Jr. explained that his horse occasionally resembles a brat.

"Sometimes he outslicks me," Miller said. "He decides he doesn't like this or that and simply refuses to run. He's spoiled. It happens when the little things don't go right, like when he has mud in his eye. But when everything does go right, there's no problems."

Like today. In winning by 1 1/2 lengths over Bagetelle, Little Bold John took home $35,571 for J.E. Owens Stables. With this victory, the colt has won six of his 13 races this year and increased his 1987 earnings to nearly $400,000.

As expected, Little Bold John and Duxun Limited took the early lead. After a quarter-mile, the two had distanced the rest of the field by five lengths. They extended it to 10 by the half-mile mark.

"Duxun was the only other speed horse, and it takes a lot more than he had to soften Little Bold John," Miller said. "Duxun pushed with everything he had, but these horses aren't really in the same league as Little Bold John."

Bagetelle closed Little Bold John's lead to a neck at the top of the backstretch, but Little Bold John had plenty left, winning in 1:43 4/5 for the 1 1/16th miles.