04/10/2008 11:00PM

Emigh sweeps Friday stakes at Oaklawn


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Jockey Chris Emigh swept both stakes run Friday at Oaklawn Park, when he guided Prom Shoes to an off-the-pace, upset victory in the $100,000 Fifth Season, and Palanka City to a front-running win as the favorite in the $50,000 Prima Donna.

The stakes double continued the Racing Festival of the South at Oaklawn, where at least one stakes a day is carded. The season will end Saturday with a stakes triple led by the Grade 2, $1 million Arkansas Derby.

Prom Shoes ($23.20) became a stakes winner in the Fifth Season. He broke with the field in the mile and a sixteenth race, and settled in about 10 lengths behind 4-5 favorite Jonesboro and Spotsgone, who dueled through fractions of 23 seconds for the opening quarter, 46.68 for the half-mile, and 1:12.01 for six furlongs. Prom Shoes had one horse beat on the final turn, angled out into the stretch and ran down Encaustic nearing the wire under a well-timed ride from Emigh.

"Chris rode him perfect," said Jinks Fires, who trains Prom Shoes for Patricia B. Blass.

Prom Shoes covered the distance over a fast track in 1:43.51. He won by a neck over Encaustic and it was another three lengths back in third to Sumac. Fires said next-race plans with Prom Shoes would be discussed with Blass. He said the horse would be nominated to the $150,000 Alysheba, a mile and a sixteenth at Churchill Downs on May 2.

Prom Shoes earned $60,000 for his win in the Fifth Season. He has now won 4 of 18 starts and $233,536.

Jonesboro finished sixth, one start after he captured the Grade 3, $150,000 Razorback Breeders’ Cup at Oaklawn.

"I thought he made the lead without too much effort, but when another horse looks you in the eye that long it takes something out of them," said Calvin Borel, who rode Jonesboro.

Emigh was on the front end one race earlier, when Palanka City ($3.80) dueled and went on to a four-length win in the $50,000 Prima Donna. She set fractions of 22.59 seconds for the opening quarter and 46.29 for a half-mile in the six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies before covering the distance in 1:10.43.

"Once we straightened away, she just gave me a big finish to the wire," said Emigh.

Palanka City registered her first stakes win in the Prima Donna. Terry Gestes trains the filly for William Stiritz. She is a daughter of Carson City and has now won 4 of 9 starts and $113,000.

* There was an on-track crowd of 20,957 on Friday. Handle on the 11-race card from all sources was $4,575,690