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– 1st Star – Donoharm (KY) – Even though there was only one day of racing this week, it’s still hard to imagine any other horse taking this spot away for Donoharm. He was the winner of the tough Fifth Season Stakes on opening day as he was able to hold off late bids from Skyring and Win Willy. Much of the credit should go to jockey Cliff Berry. Berry is the two-time defending rider champion here, and he showed why in this race as he gave Donoharm a picture perfect trip. The win was Donoharm’s fourth straight victory, and makes him a factor in the Oaklawn older male division.
– 2nd Star – Skyring (KY) – Most considered Skyring to be a synthetic or turf horse, but they failed to remember that he had broken his maiden at Oaklawn last meet, and also won an allowance at Churchill in the mud over a very good horse in Golden Ticket. While “fast” dirt may not be his best surface, a muddy or “heavy” surface is something he enjoys. He ran a bang up race in the Fifth Season, falling just short be a head in the end. I don’t think Skyring is the fastest horse in the world, but I do admire the effort he always puts in. If he can catch another off track, he can spring an upset at Oaklawn this meet.
– 3rd Star – Win Willy (KY) – The old pro still has something left in the tank! After training the field early on, like always, Win Willy made up a ton of ground while coming up on the rail late. In the end he just missed, finishing third by less than a length. It was a great race considering he had to close into a slow pace, and also had a little bit of traffic trouble at the top of the stretch. Also, the rail was considered to be the deeper part of the track on opening day, so his rail skimming trip could have actually worked against him. Win Willy has confirmed that he’s still got talent, and will be in the mix in the older male division this year at Oaklawn.
– Sister Ginger (KY) – She was heavily favored in a field of six, but you could tell early on she didn’t feel like running. Sister Ginger raced very wide throughout, and finished a fading last. One thing that could be blamed is the track. It was very heavy on Friday, and may have not been to the liking of several horses, Sister Ginger being one of them. We shouldn’t give up this one quite yet, but she’ll definitely need to show more in her next start. The same could probably be said for highly thought of first timer Marshall Raylan, who also faded badly in his race to finish fifth.
Saturday: The Pippin: 4-YO & Up, Filly & Mares 1 1/16-Miles, $75,000
Sunday: The American Beauty: 4-YO & Up, Filly & Mares 6 Furlongs, $60,000
Sunday: The Dixie Belle: 3-YO Fillies, 6 Furlongs, $60,000
Monday: The Smarty Jones: 3-YO, 1 Mile, $150,000
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