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Older horses in spotlight for today’s Fifth Season

by Pete Perkins Special to the Democrat-Gazette | January 14, 2023 at 2:07 a.m.

HOT SPRINGS -- A mix of old favorites and familiar stars will race today in the $150,000 1-mile Fifth Season Stakes for horses 4 years old and up at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort.

Ten-year-old Rated R Superstar, the defending Fifth Season winner and the winner of Oaklawn's Grade III Essex Handicap last season, and the 6-year-old gelded Ginobili, who once hinted at true superstardom, are among 10 older horses entered in the 2022-23 Fifth Season, the ninth race on today's 10-race Oaklawn card.

Post time for the 37th Fifth Season is scheduled for 4:22 p.m.

Ginobili, despite off-the-board finishes in two career starts at Oaklawn, will bring a run of West Coast success to the Fifth Season from trainer Peter Miller's California stable. Ginobili is the 7-5 morning-line favorite.

"We had an allowance race that we were looking at out here, but it didn't go," Miller said. "We pivoted to this a couple of weeks ago."

Ginobili, when he raced for part-owner and currently suspended trainer Richard Baltas, became noteworthy when he led Nadal through 6 furlongs in 1:09.05 in the 7-furlong San Vicente Stakes on Feb. 9, 2020. Nadal won by three-quarter lengths over second-place Ginobili. Four weeks and four days later, the covid-19 pandemic shuddered the world. No more than the handful of fans who watched Nadal win the 2020 Grade II Rebel Stakes and Grade I Arkansas Derby watched through Oaklawn's chain-linked fences from the front parking lot and backstretch.

Nadal was retired at 4 4-0-0, with three graded-stakes wins, after an ankle injury in mid-May 2020. His purse earnings under Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert were $1,053,000.

Ginobili (16 3-3-1, $472,325) won his only graded-stakes start in the Grade II 7-furlong Pat O'Brien Stakes at Del Mar in August 2021. He finished second in the 2021 Grade I Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Del Mar in November. After a sixth-place finish in the Grade I Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct in December 2021, a left foreleg injury in February 2022 led to a 10-month break. Ginobili returned to finish second by a head in his last start, a 6-furlong optional-claiming race at Del Mar won in 1:08.27 on Nov. 20.

"He ran great off the layoff, and he's trained super since," Miller said.

Ginobili was moved from Baltas' stable to Miller's before Baltas was suspended by California Horse Racing Board stewards in early December for allegedly violating race-day medication rules.

Ricardo Santana Jr., is the listed rider for Ginobili.

Soy Tapatio, the Fifth Season's 9-2 second choice, is entered from trainer Robertino Diodoro's barn. Diodoro leads Oaklawn's trainer standings with 17 wins through Friday. His current win total includes three in Oaklawn stakes races.

Soy Tapatio, a 5-year-old gelded son of Not This Time, won the Zia Park Championship in a track-record time for 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.18 in Hobbs, N.M., on Nov. 22.

"He's done well for us," Diodoro said. "He's a nice little horse."

Cristian Torres, Oaklawn's leading rider with 17 wins through Friday, is listed to ride Soy Tapatio.

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen has entered the 6-year-old Silver Prospector, 20-1 on the morning line. A win for Silver Prospector would extend Asmussen's training record for stakes wins at Oaklawn to 98. Silver Prospector's win in the 2020 Grade III Southwest Stakes is among Asmussen's record total.

The gelded Rated R Superstar (65 13-10-8, $1,781,280), a son of Kodiak Cowboy owned by Danny Caldwell, is trained by Martin Villafranco, the son of Rated R Superstar's former trainer Federico Villafranco. Rated R Superstar won in his last start, the 1 mile, 70-yard Jeffrey A. Hawk Memorial Stakes at Remington Park on Dec. 17.

"He's got to have several factors go right to be able, with his running style, to win," Caldwell said. "One reason I think he's been able to stay sound all these years is his running style. He kind of just gallops around the track and lets everyone go, and then he'll run the last half-mile. That's kind of the way he does it, and you're not going to change the way he does it no matter what jockey you put on him. He's going to do it his way, and his way's won 1.7 million dollars."

Issac Castillo is set to ride Rated R Superstar in the Fifth Season.

An ideal setup for Rated R Superstar, 4-1 on the Fifth Season morning line, requires a non-speed-favoring racetrack with plenty of early speed entered, Caldwell said. Three Fifth Season entrants led their last starts from the gate through at least the top of the home stretch.

"When you give away 150,000, I don't care where it's at, people are going to show up," Caldwell said. "And that's what they do. They show up to get the money."

Caldwell is ready to show up and perhaps show off with a sixth career Oaklawn win for Rated R Superstar.

"It should be a good race," Caldwell said. "It will be. If everything goes right, maybe we'll get there."


2022-23 Oaklawn stakes schedule

DECEMBER

DATE RACE CONDITIONS DISTANCE

9 $150,000 Advent 2-year-olds 51/2 furlongs

WINNER Count de Monet JOCKEY Santo Sanjur TIME 1:05.06

10 $150,000 Mistletoe 3-up, fillies and mares 1 mile

WINNER Lovely Ride JOCKEY Cristian Torres TIME 1:39.77

10 $150,000 Ring the Bell 3-year-olds and up 6 furlongs

WINNER Flash of Mischief JOCKEY Cristian Torres TIME 1:11.13

17 $200,000 Tinsel 3-year-olds & up 1 1/8 miles

WINNER Bal Harbour JOCKEY Cristian Torres TIME 1:49.22

$150,000 Poinsettia 3-up, fillies and mares 51/2 furlongs

WINNER Pretty Birdie JOCKEY David Cabrera TIME 1:03.46

31 $150,000 Renaissance 2-year-olds 6 furlongs

WINNER Frosted Departure JOCKEY Francisco Arrieta TIME 1:10.91

$150,000 Year’s End 2-year-old filies 1 mile

WINNER Defining Purpose JOCKEY David Cabrera TIME 1:39.23

JANUARY

DATE RACE CONDITIONS DISTANCE

1 $250,000 Smarty Jones 3-year-olds 1 mile

WINNER Victory Formation JOCKEY Flavien Pratt TIME 1:38.14

7 $150,000 Pippin 4-up, fillies and mares 1 1/16 miles

WINNER Lovely Ride JOCKEY Christian Torres TIME 1:44.04

14 $150,000 Fifth Season 4-year-olds and up 1 mile

21 $150,000 American Beauty 4-up, filies and mares 6 furlongs

28 $750,000 Southwest+ 3-year-olds 1 1/16 miles

$200,000 Martha Washington 3-year-old fillies 1 1/16 miles

$150,000 King Cotton 4-year-olds and up 6 furlongs

FEBRUARY

DATE RACE CONDITIONS DISTANCE

4 $250,000 Bayakoa+ 4-up, fillies and mares 1 1/16 miles

11 $150,000 Dixie Belle 3-year-old fillies 6 furlongs

18 $600,000 Razorback Hcp.+ 4-year-olds and up 1 1/16 miles

25 $1 million Rebel# 3-year-olds 1 1/16 miles

$300,000 Honeybee+ 3-year-old fillies 1 1/16 miles

$150,000 Carousel 4-up, fillies and mares 6 furlongs

MARCH

DATE RACE CONDITIONS DISTANCE

4 $150,000 Nodouble 3-up, Arkansas-bred 6 furlongs

$150,000 Downthedustyroad 3-up, Arkansas-bred 6 furlongs

11 $350,000 Azeri# 4-up, fillies and mares 1 1/16 miles

18 $500,000 Essex Handicap+ 4-year-olds and up 1 1/16 miles

$200,000 Whitmore+ 4-year-olds and up 6 furlongs

25 $150,000 Purple Martin 3-year-old fillies 6 furlongs

31 $250,000 Matron 4-up, fillies and mares 6 furlongs

APRIL

DATE RACE CONDITIONS DISTANCE

1 $1.25 mil. Arkansas Derby* 3-year-olds 1 1/8 miles

$600,000 Fantasy+ 3-year-old fillies 1 1/16 miles

$400,000 Oaklawn Mile+ 4-year-olds and up 1 mile

$200,000 Hot Springs 3-year-olds 1 mile

2 $150,000 Temperence Hill 4-year-olds and up 11/2 miles

8 $150,000 Rainbow 3-year-old Arkansas-bred 6 furlongs

$150,000 Rainbow Miss 3-yr,-old Ark.-bred fillies 6 furlongs

15 $1 million Apple Blossom* 4-up, fillies and mares 1 1/16 miles

$500,000 Ct. Fleet Sprint Hcp.+ 4-year-olds and up 6 furlongs

22 $1 million Oaklawn Hcp.# 4-year-olds and up 1 1/8 miles

$200,000 Bath House Row 3-year-olds 1 1/8 miles

$150,000 Valley of the Vapors 3-year-old fillies 1 mile

29 $150,000 Bachelor 3-year-olds 6 furlongs

$150,000 Dig a Diamond 4-up, fillies and mares 1 mile

MAY

DATE RACE CONDITIONS DISTANCE

4 $150,000 Natural St. Breeders 4-up, Ark.-bred F&M 1 mile

5 $150,000 Lake Ouachita 4-year-olds 1 1/16 miles

6 $200,000 Ark. Breeder Champ. 4-up, Arkansas-bred 1 1/16 miles

6 $150,000 Lake Hamilton 4-year-olds 6 furlongs

*Grade I race #Grade II race +Grade III race


Print Headline: Older horses in spotlight for today’s Fifth Season

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