04/13/2005 12:00AM

Mauk Four wins Fifth Season Breeders' Cup


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Mauk Four took the initiative from the start and never looked back for a two and a half length win over Clays Awesome in the Grade 3, $100,000 at Oaklawn Park on Wednesday.

The race was part of the track's annual Racing Festival of the South, when at least one stakes a day is decided over the final six days of the Oaklawn meet, which ends on Saturday.

Mauk Four ($7.80) went to the front at the start of the Fifth Season, and raced through fractions of 23.50 seconds for the opening quarter and 47.76 seconds for the half-mile mark, all while being stalked by Free Thinking. Mauk Four continued to lead the field through six furlongs in 1:12.47, and went on to cover the distance over a fast track in 1:42.89.

"He just galloped along," said Jeff Burningham, who rode Mauk Four for trainer Jerry Cart. "I thought someone would go with him, I really did."

Clays Awesome rallied for second, finishing three-quarters off a length in front of third-place finisher and favorite Absent Friend.

Mauk Four earned $60,000 for the win, which was his second in a stakes. His first stakes win came at Oaklawn in 2003, when he won the $75,000 Northern Spur Breeders' Cup. He has now won 6 of 32 starts and $266,490. He races for R and W Srygley Partnership.

Mauk Four's connections said he will be freshened, with his next major objective being the $100,000 Evangeline Mile at Evangeline Downs on Aug. 13.