Able to clear the field before reaching the first turn, Mauk Four was never headed while winning the $100,000 Fifth Season (gr. III) for older horses at Oaklawn Park Wednesday.
Ridden by Jeff Burningham, Mauk Four, the second choice in the field of eight, defeated Clays Awesome and Calvin Borel by 2 1/2 lengths while finishing the 1 1/16-mile event under steady handling in 1:42 4/5. Absent Friend, the 2-1 favorite with Roman Chapa aboard, finished third, 3 1/4 lengths behind the winner.
Jerry D. Cart trains the 5-year-old winning son of Boston Harbor-Moroccan Magic (by Rahy
), who won his first graded stakes race for owner R. and W. Srygley Partnership.
After getting the early lead by 1 1/2 lengths, Mauk Four slowed things down, clipping off fractions of :23 2/5, :47 3/5 and 1:12 2/5. Pressured by Clays Awesome coming off the far turn, Mauk Four withstood the challenge and shook clear in mid-stretch to register an impressive win.
Clays Awesome stayed close to the pacesetter while racing on the inside before tiring. Absent Friend, also on the inside while stalking the pace, responded when roused in the stretch run but was unable to threaten.
Mauk Four, twice graded stakes-placed previously, won for the sixth time in 32 starts and has earned $266,490. He was coming off a third-place finish in the Gulf Coast Breeders' Cup Classic April 2 at Delta Downs. The chestnut ran second to Absent Friend in Oaklawn's Essex Handicap (gr. III) Feb. 12.
Gainesway Thoroughbreds Ltd. and Highlands of Lexington Inc. bred the winner in Kentucky.
Mauk Four paid $7.80, $4.60 and $3.20. Clays Awesome returned $7.60 and $3.60. Absent Friend's show was $2.80.
Free Thinking, Missme, Pro Prado, River Mountain Rd and Separato followed.