01/16/2015 7:28PM

Carve reaffirms fondness for track by winning Fifth Season

Coady Photography
Carve, ridden by Jesus Castano, improves to 4 for 7 at Oaklawn Park by taking the Fifth Season.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.- Carve won in his first start since the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Friday, when he overtook pacesetter Zee Bros for a 3 1/2-length win in the $100,000 Fifth Season at Oaklawn Park. Code West rallied for second in the 1 1/16-mile race for older horses, finishing 2 3/4 lengths in front of third-place finisher Zee Bros.

The Fifth Season was the first local stepping-stone to the Grade 2, $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 11. The next race in the series is the $100,000 Essex Handicap on Feb. 14, and that race is a probable target for Carve, said the horse’s owner, Mike Langford.

Carve ($4.80) was content to sit in second in the Fifth Season, as Zee Bros took the field through fractions of 23.87 seconds for the opening quarter, 47.01 for the half-mile, and 1:11.10 for six furlongs. Carve proceeded to overtake the leader while covering distance on a track rated fast in 1:42.44.

Jesus Castanon was aboard the winner for trainer Brad Cox. The start was Carve’s first since finishing sixth to Goldencents in the BC Dirt Mile at Santa Anita on Oct. 31. Following that race he was targeted for the Fifth Season.

“This is the one we wanted to start our season off in,” said Langford, a resident of Arkansas. “He’s trained unbelievable. He likes Oaklawn. He’s like his owner, I guess.”

Carve is now 4 for 7 at Oaklawn with his win in the Fifth Season. He earned $60,000 for the victory to improve his record to 7  wins from 19 starts for earnings of $772,415. Carve won last year’s Grade 3 Cornhusker and the $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s Cup and also finished second in the Oaklawn Handicap. He is a 5-year-old son of First Samurai and was bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider