BALTIMORE, SEPT. 12 -- One week before his scheduled start in the Maryland Million, Little Bold John ran his poorest race in months, finishing last today as Southern Appeal rallied to beat Mortgage Man in the $54,650 Polynesian Handicap at Pimlico.

Ridden by Donald Miller Jr. and carrying 122 pounds -- at least 11 more than any of his six opponents -- Little Bold John broke from the outside and went four-wide into the first turn of the 1 1/16-mile race. The 1-to-2 favorite was three-wide entering the far turn, when he began to falter.

Miller hit Little Bold John once, getting little response, and used his whip sparingly the rest of the way.

"I couldn't feel anything {wrong}," Miller said. "That's why, as far as the horse is concerned, I'm not that worried about it."

Trainer John Robb said Little Bold John appeared fine after finishing and will start in the $200,000 Budweiser Maryland Classic if no problems are detected.

Little Bold John fell back with about a half-mile to go, just as Mortgage Man took the lead from Bea Quality. Jockey Mary Wiley had Mortgage Man nearly two lengths in front turning for home but swung him slightly wide into the stretch. Kent Desormeaux then dropped the rallying Southern Appeal along the rail, and, with right-handed urging, overtook Mortgage Man inside the eighth pole, winning by a length in 1:42 4/5.

Bug Eyed Betty, a filly, was third, three lengths behind Mortgage Man. Bea Quality was fourth.

Southern Appeal paid $16 to win.