01/14/2011 5:10PM

Win Willy should be ready to fire in Fifth Season

Email

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. − Win Willy puts a lot into his training, and his aggressive style might serve him well Sunday, when he faces six others in the $75,000 Fifth Season at Oaklawn Park.

A 1 1/16-mile race, the Fifth Season was carded as Friday’s season opener in Hot Springs, but freezing temperatures forced the cancellation of that program as well as five consecutive mornings of training at Oaklawn.

“The week off is definitely not an excuse for me,” said Mac Robertson, who trains Win Willy. “He always does a little too much in the mornings. It’s not perfect circumstances leading into the race, but I’m not a perfect trainer.”

The Fifth Season is the first of three local preps for the Grade 2, $350,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 9, and that race is the meet objective for Win Willy, Robertson said. Among the horse’s chief rivals Sunday are Stachys, winner of the $150,000 Zia Derby on Dec. 4; Cryptolight, who took the $125,000 Mountaineer Mile in his most recent start Nov. 6; and Atoned, who invades from Fair Grounds for trainer Neil Howard.

Win Willy exits the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at 1 1/8 miles at Churchill Downs on Nov. 26. He closed from 11th to finish fifth, earning a 93 Beyer Figure of 93, tied for the highest last-race number in the Fifth Season field.

“I thought he ran well,” Robertson said. “The fractions were awful slow, and turning for home he had a lot to do. Obviously, he needs some pace, and he didn’t have much pace that day.”

Win Willy won the $131,000 Brandywine at Delaware Park on Oct. 3 one start before the Clark. Cliff Berry has the mount on Win Willy, a Grade 2 winner of more than $500,000 for Jer-Mar Stables.

Cryptolight, who won the Mountaineer Mile with a Beyer of 93, has more natural speed than a number of his rivals and might get a tracking trip behind Kate’s Main Man. Cryptolight was an allowance winner at Oaklawn last meet by two lengths over Grade 3 winner Spotsgone. Ernesto Oro has the mount for trainer Joe Martin.

Atoned was fifth in the $58,000 Tenacious at Fair Grounds in December, and two starts before ran third to eventual Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner Eldaafer in the Grade 3 Turfway Park Fall Championship. Aaron Gryder will ride the ridgling, who is a Grade 3 winner for Dogwood Stable.