The 9-year-old Rated R Superstar gelding proved age was just a number in Saturday’s $150,000 fifth-season stakes at Oaklawn Park, sparking a 25-1 upset with his neck triumphing over Mucho (7-1). The victory brought a bit of deja vu for owner Danny Caldwell, who dispatched Domain’s Rap to win the 2017 edition of season five when this gelding was nine years old. Both geldings are trained by Federico Villafranco.
“Just because they’re eight or nine doesn’t mean they can’t race anymore,” Caldwell said of the winner’s circle. “We gave him a break and (trainer) Frederico (Villafranco) did a great job of bringing him back. David Cabrera gave him a perfect run. He’s one of those hard-hitting horses who just know their stuff. .
Rated R Superstar was making his first start since September and made a mid-race move off the pace under jockey David Cabrera. Finding a clear racing spot in the middle of the stretch, the son of Kodiak Kowboy sped down Mucho to complete a mile on the fast main track in 1:37.16. Thomas Shelby came third.
Sent in as a 3-2 favorite, the Rebel Stakes 2021 Concert Tour winner appeared to struggle in the far corner and was relieved under the wire by jockey Joel Rosario. It was the colt’s first start since the Preakness, as well as his first since moving to trainer Brad Cox.
“He hadn’t raced in a little while,” Rosario said of Concert Tour. “He was there for a little while and looked like he lost his focus a bit in the last part of the race. We’ll see how he comes back next time.
Mucho, making his first start around two laps, went straight into the lead in season five, pulling away to lead by as much as 1 1/2 lengths at the start. Concert Tour was right there in second, covering splits of 23.33 and 46.91 seconds, while Thomas Shelby came up the rail to join him on the straight.
Cabrera found a seam at the rail and sent Rated R Superstar through the middle of the backstretch, and brought the gelding third on the inside. Thomas Shelby challenged Mucho for the lead, while Concert Tour fell back. Mucho fended off Thomas Shelby, but there was still another challenger to come.
Swinging outward, Rated R Superstar saw the finish line and put his ears back, eating ground in the center of the track. Cabrera hit the wire a neck ahead on Rated R Superstar, with Mucho and jockey Florent Geroux having to settle for second place. Thomas Shelby was third from close, while he was fourth by several lengths from Necker Island.
“The pace stopped early and to be honest I just let it run the whole way,” Cabrera said. “I’ve ridden him a few times before so it was great knowing him. Down the lane I had a kick that was perfect. I was a little scared I wouldn’t make it because that I was a little loose. He gave me everything he had, so that’s all you can ask for.
The remaining finishing order was: Silver Prospector, Snapper Sinclair, Atoka, Long Range Toddy and Concert Tour.
Raised in Kentucky by Thorndale Stable LLC, Rated R Superstar was a $50,000 claim last January in Oaklawn. He compiled a record of three wins, three seconds and a third in nine starts for his new relationships.
Rated R Superstar has a significant back class: he finished second in G3 Iroquois and third in G1 Breeders’ Futurity in 2015, won G3 Carry Back in 2016, G3 Ben Ali in 2018, $350,000 Essex in 2019 and the $175,000 Governor’s Cup in 2021. Overall, the gelding has won 10 races out of 57 starts and earned $1,271,014
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