Race Preview: Fifth Season Stakes – Oaklawn Park, January 11, 2013

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Matt Carter

January 10th, 2013

Friday is opening day for the 2013 meet at Oaklawn Park, which is expected to be one of the best in the history of the track.  Nine races on the card with the feature the $75,000 Fifth Season Stakes.  The two-turn race for four-year-olds and upward drew a field of nine, one entry, with Endorsement the 2-1 morning line favorite.

Endorsement makes his first start since early August after finishing sixth in the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational Handicap at Saratoga.  It was his second straight dull effort after previously winning two of three races including the Grade 3 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park.  In 2010, Endorsement broke his maiden at Oaklawn Park, but may be a tough vulnerable in his first start off the layoff.  He has been stabled in Hot Springs since mid-December; however, and is drop well down in class.  Perhaps a win here will put him on the track for the Oaklawn Handicap in April.

Speaking of the Oaklawn Handicap, in 2011 Win Willy won the Grade 2 race and now is back at the track he loves the most.  In 13 starts at Oaklawn the seven-year-old has five wins, three seconds and one third.  While long in the tooth now, Win Willy has still shown the propensity to win a race.  Look for him to be running late.

Unfortunately for Win Willy the pace does not look all that strong.  Endorsement will likely be pushing the pace as will Donoharm and Double Rah Rah, both runners not in the same class as the favorite.

The two most likely to upset are It Happened Again and Master Rick, with preference to It Happened Again, who is four-for-nine at Oaklawn Park and is coming off a decent third place finish in a $75,000 stakes race at Fair Grounds.  Third start off the layoff and back into the winner’s circle.

First post on Friday at Oaklawn Park is 2:05 ET with the Fifth Season scheduled to break from the gate at 5:33.