Veteran Rated R Superstar Springs 25-1 Upset In Fifth Season

January 15, 2022 (Hot Springs, AR)-The 9-year-old gelding Rated R Superstar proved age is just a number in Saturday’s $150,000 Fifth Season Stakes at Oaklawn Park, springing a 25-1 upset with his neck triumph over pacesetting Mucho (7-1). The victory brought a bit of déjà vu for owner Danny Caldwell, who sent out Domain’s Rap to win the 2017 edition of the Fifth Season when that gelding was nine years old. Both geldings are trained by Federico Villafranco.

“Just because they’re eight or nine years old, doesn’t mean they can’t still run,” Caldwell said from the winner’s circle. “We gave him a break and (trainer) Frederico (Villafranco) did a great job bringing him back. David Cabrera gave him a perfect ride. He’s one of those hard-knocking horses that just knows his job.”

Rated R Superstar was making his first start since September, and made a mid-race move from off-the-pace under jockey David Cabrera. Finding clear racing room in the center of the stretch, the son of Kodiak Kowboy ran down Mucho to complete a mile over the fast main track in 1:37.16. Thomas Shelby checked in third.

Sent to post as the 3-2 favorite, 2021 Rebel Stakes winner Concert Tour appeared to struggle around the far turn and was eased under the wire by jockey Joel Rosario. It was the colt’s first start since the Preakness, as well as his first since being transferred to trainer Brad Cox.

“He hadn’t run for a little while,” Rosario said of Concert Tour. “He was there for a little while and looked like he a lost a little focus the last part of the race. We’ll see how he comes back the next time.”

Mucho, making his first start around two turns, went straight to the lead in the Fifth Season, pulling away to lead by as much as 1 1/2 lengths in the early going. Concert Tour was right there in second, tracking through fractions of 23.33 and 46.91 seconds, while Thomas Shelby came up the rail to join him down the backstretch.

Cabrera found a seam at the rail and sent Rated R Superstar through it midway down the backstretch, and brought the gelding into third on the inside. Thomas Shelby was challenging Mucho for the lead, while Concert Tour dropped back. Mucho repelled Thomas Shelby, but there was another challenger yet to come.

Swinging to the outside, Rated R Superstar saw the finish line and laid his ears back, eating up ground in the center of the track. Cabrera hit the wire a neck in front on Rated R Superstar, with Mucho and jockey Florent Geroux having to settle for second. Thomas Shelby was a close-up third, while it was several lengths back to Necker Island in fourth.

“The pace went out early and to be honest, I just let him run his race the whole way,” Cabrera said. “I rode him a couple of times before so it was great that I knew him. Down the lane, I got a kick that was perfect. I was a little bit worried that I wouldn’t get there because I was a little bit wide. He gave me all he had, so that’s all you can ask for.”

The remaining order of finish was: Silver Prospector, Snapper Sinclair, Atoka, Long Range Toddy, and Concert Tour.

Bred in Kentucky by Thorndale Stable L.L.C., Rated R Superstar was a $50,000 claim last January at Oaklawn. He’s compiled a record of three wins, three seconds, and a third from nine starts for his new connections.

Rated R Superstar has significant back-class: he ran second in the G3 Iroquois and third in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity in 2015, won the G3 Carry Back in 2016, the G3 Ben Ali in 2018, the $350,000 Essex in 2019, and the $175,000 Governor’s Cup in 2021. Overall, the gelding has won 10 races from 57 starts and earned $1,271,014