Hot Springs, Ark. (Friday, Jan. 16, 2015) – Mike Langford’s Carve kicked off his 5-year-old season in fine style, winning Friday’s $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes by 3 ½ lengths over Code West. Pace setter Zee Bros, held on for third.

Ridden confidently by jockey Jesus Castanon, Carve raced within striking distance of Zee Bros as he took the field through early fractions of :23 4/5 and :47 for the first half mile. The winner collared the leader past the furlong marker and drew off to win comfortably in 1:42 2/5 for 1 1/16 miles over fast track.

“I just made sure he broke good and got into a good position,” said Castanon. “From there, I knew I was on the best horse and rode him with a lot of confidence.”

“This is the one we wanted to start our season off with,” said Langford of Jonesboro, Ark. “The horse has trained unbelievable. He likes Oaklawn. For whatever reason, I don’t know. He’s like his owner, I guess. (trainer) Brad’s (Cox) done a great job with him, and you saw how he ran today.”

Following a poor start from the outside post, For Greater Glory rallied for fourth. He was followed by Francois, Serendip, Bourbonize, Real Appeal Deal and Doctor Peter.

Carve, a First Samurai gelding, improved his record to 7-2-4 in 19 starts and improved his career bankroll to $520,884. He returned $4.80, $3.00 and $2.40 as the 7-5 favorite.

Oaklawn’s series for older horses leading up to the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 11 continues with the $100,000 Essex Handicap Saturday, Feb. 14.

Live racing resumes at Oaklawn Saturday with a 1 p.m. first post. The 9-race card is highlighted by the $100,000 Pippin Stakes for older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles.

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