Jan. 16, 2011
For Immediate Release
Jennifer Hoyt, Media Relations Manager
Jhoyt@oaklawn.com, (501) 623-4411 ex. 490
FAVORED WIN WILLY WINS FIFTH SEASON IN HEART STOPPER
HOT SPRINGS, AR (Sunday, Jan.16, 2011) – Jer-Mar Stable’s Win Willy may have had all his backers that made him the heavy 3-5 favorite on the edge of their seats, but in the end there was no doubt who the winner was of Sunday’s $75,000 Fifth Season Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Despite a slow early pace, Win Willy used his normal come from behind style to prevail by a neck over Stachys in 1:46 for 1 1/16 miles over a fast track.
Breaking from post six under regular rider Cliff Berry, Win Willy, the upset winner of the 2009 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn, was unhurried early and settled into last place as jockey Calvin Borel tried to steal the race from the front end under Kate’s Man Main, setting soft fractions of :24 2/5 and :49 2/5 for the first half mile. The winner was forced to come six wide into the stretch, but continued to show his affinity for the local surface with the victory. Kate’s Main Man held on for third.
“They really packed him out there good,” said winning trainer Mac Robertson. “The one thing I told (jockey) Cliff (Berry) was that the rail has been getting better and better all day, so make sure you try to save some ground. But, I knew we’d be pretty wide. That’s his style. He can make a bad trainer look good. The way the track has been playing today, I thought we might have been in trouble. If Win Willy had made that move yesterday, I think it would have looked a lot better.”
“It was a big effort,” said Berry. “I wasn’t sure we’d get there, but that’s just his style. He was the best horse out there.”
Win Willy, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Monarchos, improved his career record to 6-3-1 in 14 career starts and has now earned $534,460. He returned $3.20, $2.60 and $2.10.
Live racing at Oaklawn resumes Monday for a special Martin Luther King Jr. Day program featuring the $100,000 Smarty Jones Stakes and a Zenyatta Bobblehorse giveaway. First post is 1 p.m. and gates open at 11 a.m.
Jockey Francisco Torres, second aboard Stachys:
“We had a perfect trip. We were second at the 16th pole and when I looked around I didn’t see the favorite. I thought we would win it.”
Jockey Calvin Borel, third aboard Kate’s Main Man:
“He ran his heart out. At the 3/8ths pole I still had a lot of horse. At one point, I thought my horse might last. He’s a nice one and he didn’t want to give it up.”