Three-time Oaklawn leading owner Danny Caldwell got his quest for a fourth straight title off to a fast start on opening day when he won two races on the card, including the $ 125,000 Fifth Season Stakes with the 9-year-old veteran Domain’s Rap.
With jockey Ramon Vazquez in the irons, Domain’s Rap laid off the early pace set by Code West through an opening quarter mile in :23 2/5 and a half mile in :47. The winner made a sweeping move around the turn for home to gain command and drew off to win by two lengths over the 5-2 favorite Smack Smack. Inside Straight, who had raced close to the pace, was third, while the pace setter faded to fourth.
“I had a lot of horse today,” said Vazquez. “When he’s feeling good, he’s going to win no matter what the odds say.”
“I knew he loves Oaklawn Park,” said Caldwell. “I really took a chance running him for ($ 25,000 in his last race), but he’d been off form a little bit. I gave him a little break and actually had him again entered for ($ 25,000) and decided to scratch him and save him for Oaklawn. Just gave him a rest and treated him right. He’s been very good to us.”
Domain’s Rap, a Cherokee Rap gelding trained by Federico Villafranco, improved his record to 14-16-8 in 60 career starts and has now earned $ 585,250. He returned $ 19.60, $ 9.60 and $ 4.80 at odds of 9-1.
Live racing resumes Saturday at Oaklawn with a 1 p.m. first post. Highlighting the day will be the traditional $ .50 Corned Beef Sandwich Day and the $ 125,000 Pippin Stakes.
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