01/13/2017 7:11PM

Domain's Rap opens meeting with victory in Fifth Season

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Coady Photography
Domain's Rap paid $19.60 in winning the Fifth Season on Friday.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Domain’s Rap helped owner Danny Caldwell get off to a fast start at the Oaklawn Park meet that opened Friday when he rallied for a 2-length win over Smack Smack in the $125,000 Fifth Season. The race served as the opening-day feature on an overcast afternoon in which an estimated crowd of 15,000 turned out for the start of the 113th season of racing in Hot Springs.

Caldwell won last year’s owner title at Oaklawn and Domain’s Rap is one of the barn’s top horses. But he was not necessarily intended for the Fifth Season one start after running second in a $25,000 claiming race on turf Oct. 27 at Remington Park.

“We took a chance running him for $25,000,” Caldwell said. “He’d been off form a little bit.”

Caldwell said Domain’s Rap has an affinity for Oaklawn, and that’s one reason he decided to go ahead and target the Fifth Season. The horse is now 4 for 6 in Hot Springs, and last year also ran second in the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap.

“He loves Oaklawn Park,” Caldwell said. “This race came up pretty tough. I said, ‘Well, we’ll take a shot.’ ”

Domain’s Rap ($19.60) settled several lengths off the pace as Code West and Insight Straight raced together through fractions of 23.45 seconds for the opening quarter, 47.18 for the half-mile and 1:11.45 for six furlongs. Domain’s Rap launched a four-wide move around the final turn, took the lead in the stretch, and went on to cover the 1 1/16 miles on a track rated fast in 1:43.23.

Ramon Vazquez was aboard for trainer Federico Villafranco.

Domain’s Rap earned $75,000 for the win, which pushed his career bankroll to $585,250. He has now won 14 of 60 starts. Domain’s Rap is a 9-year-old son of Cherokee Rap and was bred in Illinois by William Stiritz.