HOT SPRINGS, AR (Friday, Jan. 12, 2018) – Calumet Farm’s Sonneteer, who almost stole the show in the 2017 Rebel Stakes at odds of 112-1, reaffirmed his affinity for Oaklawn by finally earning his first stakes win in the $125,000 Fifth Season Stakes before an opening day crowd of 13,500.
Breaking from post 10, Sonneteer raced near the back of the field early before steadily advancing through the 12-horse field. He came six wide into the stretch and just got up in time to win by three-quarters of the length over Futile. Far Right, the 2015 Southwest Stakes winner, was third. Dazzling Gem, the 9-5 favorite finished fifth.
“Mr. Keith (Desormeaux) (the trainer) gave me a call from California and just told me to just let him break and let him do his thing, you know, let him be a horse,” winning jockey C.J. McMahon said. “That’s what I did. He broke and when I took a hold of him down the backside, he took off with me at the same time. It was off to the races from there.”
Sonneteer, who also finished fourth in the 2017 Arkansas Derby before competing in that year’s Kentucky Derby, improved his record to 2-4-4 in 18 career starts and has now earned $426,050. Dismissed at odds of 29.80-1, he returned $61.60, $24.20 and $13.20.
Live racing resumes Saturday with a first post of 1 p.m. The day is highlighted by the $125,000 Pippin Stakes and the $.50 Corned Beef Sandwich Giveaway.
Winning jockey C.J. McMahon (Sonneteer) – “Mr. Keith (Desormeaux) gave me a call from California and just told me to just let him break and let him do his thing, you know, let him be a horse. That's what I did. He broke and when I took a hold of him down the backside, he took off with me at the same time. It was off to the races from there.”
Jockey Rodney Prescott (Second on Futile) – “The horse ran great. He was second in his last race (Hawthorne Gold Cup) and he ran a very similar race today. He’s a nice horse. Chris (Hartman) has done a great job with him.”
Jockey Channing Hill (Third on Far Right) – “I was kind of setup to do what I wanted. I had a good post position. He helped me get a good spot into the turn. You know he really showed his class. I give Chris Hartman’s horse a lot of credit. He sprinted from the top of the lane and that Sonneteer must really just love this race track. Far Right ran good, back to his old days. Probably needed this a little bit and hopefully this is the Far Right we saw a couple years ago.”