Kid Grindstone used a big finish to surprise the even-money favorite Arch Hall in deep stretch, winning the $100,000 Fifth Season (gr. III) for older horses at odds of 9-1 in his graded stakes debut Wednesday at Oaklawn Park.
Stuck behind pacesetter Greater Good and running out of room, jockey Jesse Campbell angled the 4-year-old gray Grindstone
gelding to the outside, and Kid Grindstone won going away by one length over Arch Hall.
"My horse really surprised me," said Campbell after riding his first stakes winner for his father, trainer Michael Campbell. "We went by the leaders so easily I didn't know if they were going that slow or I was going that fast."
Greater Good, the unexpected front-runner in the field of seven, settled for third, 2 1/4 lengths behind the winner. The final time was 1:43 3/5 for the 1 1/16-mile event on a fast track.
Wexler Racing Stables' Kid Grindstone rallied from last in the early portion of the Fifth Season to record his fifth win in 15 lifetime starts. He earned $60,000 for the victory, increasing his bankroll to $147,317.
Kid Grindstone, who had an eventful trip, carried 115 pounds, seven fewer than the runner-up. He was forced to steady briefly while going under the wire the first time when in tight quarters, but managed to save ground as Greater Good, ridden by John McKee, set an uncontested pace of :23 4/5, :48 1/5 and 1:12 4/5.
Arch Hall, with Corey Lanerie aboard, emerged from the pack to challenge Greater Good in the stretch, eventually getting the lead inside the eighth pole. Kid Grindstone, meanwhile, was stopped between foes on the far turn but continued to make up ground along the inside after straightening away in the lane. Lacking room as the leaders reached the furlong marker, Campbell switched Kid Grindstone out fairly severely to challenge Greater Good and Arch Hall on the outside and the gelding finished up strongly under urging.
Kid Grindstone was coming off a second-place finish behind Fifth Season foe Prospective Kiss in a 1 1/16-mile optional allowance/claiming event at Oaklawn March 11. His last win came in an optional claimer on the turf at Hawthorne in October. He was stakes-placed on the Arlington Park lawn last June.
As the fourth choice, Kid Grindstone paid $20.20, $6 and $4.60.
Arch Hall, favored after a second-place finish behind Purim in the Razorback Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) last month, returned $2.40 and $2.20.
Greater Good, who added blinkers and tried a change of tactics to shake a prolonged slump for trainer Robert Holthus, ran a much-improved race and was $3.20 to show.
Stratostar, Prospective Kiss, Real Dandy, and Silver Axe trailed.
Crescent Hill Farm bred Kid Grindstone, a $25,000 Keeneland yearling in 2003, in Kentucky.