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HOT SPRINGS, AR – Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing’s Silver State slipped by a game Hunka Burning Love in the late stages to win Saturday’s $150,000 Fifth Season Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Silver State broke a bit slowly from post 4 under Ricardo Santana Jr. as the 4/5 favorite but soon settled into a close stalking position heading into the clubhouse turn.
Hunka Burning Love set the pace, posting comfortable fractions of :23.70, :47.68, and 1:!2.53 while Full Authority and Pioneer Spirit gave closest watch.
Hunka Burning Love rounded the far turn still in front but with a rallying Silver State hot on his heels. The bettors’ choice headed the pacesetter shortly after straightening for home and the two dug in for a showdown.
Though Hunka Burning Love fought gamely in the stretch, the Steve Asmussen-trained Silver State inched ahead in the shadow of the wire before crossing a nose clear, completing the fast dirt mile route in 1:37.77.
Though nowhere near the top pair, Night Ops rallied from last to take third by a 1/2-length over Nifty.
Pioneer Spirit and Full Authority completed the order of finish.
Combatant was scratched.
Silver State’s win was his first at the stakes level and third straight following a pair of allowance victories last fall, his first 2 starts after a 7-month layoff. The 4-year-old Hard Spun colt, purchased for $450,000 as a yearling, improved his record to 8-4-2-1 with $330,094 earned.
Silver State returned $3.80 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.10 to show. Hunka Burning Love brought back $3.80 to place and $2.40 to show, while Night Ops paid $2.10 to show.
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