Which Horse Will Finish First in the Fifth Season Stakes?

Finding the right horse to bet on at Oaklawn Park. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Nine horses are entered Saturday in the $150,000 Fifth Season Stakes at Oaklawn Park, including the 2019 and 2021 winners of the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes, Long Range Toddy and Concert Tour, respectively. Long Range Toddy is winless in 16 races since then, while Concert Tour, last seen finishing ninth of 10 in the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes, returns from an eight-month layoff and a change to the barn of Brad Cox. Snapper Sinclair leads the field in career earnings at $1.8 million. He has run poorly in his last two races, but one was his first ever try on an all-weather surface and the other was in the Grade 1 Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Two races prior to that Snapper Sinclair won the TVG Stakes on the grass at Kentucky Downs.

Television schedule

Thursday, Jan. 13: post time varies on TVG

Friday, Jan. 14: 2:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Jan. 15: 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m. on FS2; 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS1; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Jan. 16: 2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. on FS2; 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS1; post time varies on TVG

Monday, Jan. 17: post time varies on TVG

Rated R Superstar, who returns from four months off, is another who has had a fine career to date, earning $1.1 million, with his most recent win coming in the Governor’s Cup Stakes in August. Mucho enters the Fifth Season Stakes in superb form with six straight in-the-money finishes including a win in the Challedon Stakes last summer. However, Mucho is running in a two-turn race for the very first time after 29 races around one turn. Necker Island is another horse stretching out to two turns. He won the Bet On Sunshine Stakes in November.

Thomas Shelby really likes to win races, with 10 victories in 24 career races. His most recent effort was a second-place finish in the Tinsel Stakes at Oaklawn last month. Silver Prospector is approaching the $1 million mark in career earnings. After winning the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn in the winter of 2020, he has won just one of eight races. Atoka rounds out the field, entering the race off a runner-up effort in an allowance race over the track from which he was moved up to first after the winner was disqualified. 

Top contenders:

Thomas Shelby draws the rail for this mile trip. That means jockey David Cohen will have the ability to put him on the lead, which has resulted in three wins in his last four starts, or settle him off the pace, which has resulted in another three wins before that. Thomas Shelby joined the barn of trainer Robertino Diodoro in November 2020 and, after finishing fourth, third and seventh in his initial three starts for the barn, has turned into an “alpha” horse, winning seven of 10, finishing second in two others and third another time. Last October, Thomas Shelby ran the best race of his career winning a classified allowance race with a career-best 112 Equibase Speed Figure. He won again in November, and then, after two months off, he led until deep stretch before coming up three-quarters of a length short in the Tinsel Stakes. That race was at Oaklawn and was run at 1 1/8 miles, with Thomas Shelby leading at the point this mile race ends, so repeating that effort could be good enough to win the Fifth Season Stakes.

Silver Prospector has four career wins, one of which came at Oaklawn. That was when he took the 2020 Southwest Stakes with a then career-best 107 Equibase Speed Figure. After a poor sixth-place effort in the Rebel Stakes followed by a poorer seventh-place finish in the Arkansas Derby, Silver Prospector was given nearly six months off. Returning in fall 2020 off a lengthy layoff, Silver Prospector raced in top form to win and earned a very strong 106 figure considering the time off. Although winless in five races since, Silver Prospector ran just as well as he had in the comeback when second in the Razorback Handicap last February at Oaklawn, earning a 108 figure. Now rested since last May, Silver Prospector has put in a pair of very strong workouts which were the best of 52 and the fourth best of 42 on the day. These signal he could be as fit and ready to run just like he did off a similar layoff, and if he does that he could certainly compete for top honors in this race.

Concert Tour is another returning off a layoff since last May, and he too is working in the morning like he will not need a race before showing his best. Concert Tour won the first three races of his career last year, including the San Vicente Stakes and the Rebel, in which he earned a career-best 104 figure drawing off easily to win by 4 1/4 lengths in geared down fashion. After a third-place finish in the Arkansas Derby, Concert Tour skipped the Kentucky Derby, then showed up in the Preakness. He ran the worst race of his career when ninth of 10 and beaten more than 30 lengths. Returning to training last October, Concert Tour has been placed in the care of trainer Brad Cox, who has an exceptional record of nine wins from 25 starts with horses coming back from six months off or more in dirt routes. As such, Concert Tour appears to fit with the best of the contenders in this year’s Fifth Season.

The rest of the field (with best Equibase Speed Figures): Atoka (100), Long Range Toddy (102), Mucho (108 in sprint races), Necker Island (108 in sprint races), Rated R Superstar (105) and Snapper Sinclair (115 on turf). 

Win contenders, in preference/probability order:

Thomas Shelby

Silver Prospector

Concert Tour

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