Odds-on choice Win Willy unleashed his terrific stretch kick to win the $75,000 Fifth Season Stakes by a neck over Stachys with a well-timed ride from Cliff Berry at Oaklawn Park Jan. 16.
Jer-Mar Stables' 5-year-old Win Willy, winner of the 2009 Rebel Stakes (gr. II), scored in his first appearance for trainer McLean Robertson since running fifth in the Clark Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs Nov. 25.
Stachys, ridden by Francisco Torres, took the lead in deep stretch from pacesetter Kate's Main Man but last year's Zia Park Derby winner could not hold off the charging Win Willy. The winner prevailed in spite of fanning six wide into the lane after trailing the field for the opening half-mile. The winning time for the 1 1/16-mile event was 1:46.15 over a fast main track.
Kate's Main Man, ridden by Clavin Borel, finished third, a half-length behind Stachys. Kate's Main Man carved fractions of :24.45, :49.40, and 1:14.14 and battled gamely to the wire.