Secret Oath scores in Kentucky Oaks

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Briland Farm’s homebred Secret Oath made a five-wide sweeping move on the far turn and then collared Echo Zulu at the three-sixteenths pole en route to a 2-length victory over favored Nest in the 148th running of the $1,250,000 Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) for 3-year-old fillies Friday afternoon at Churchill Downs before a crowd of 100,188.

Trained by D. Wayne Lukas and ridden by Luis Saez, Secret Oath completed the mile and an eighth on a track listed as good in 1:49.44.

The victory is the fifth in the race for Lukas and ties him with Woody Stephens for the most Oaks triumphs. Lukas’ other winners were Blush With Pride (1982), Lucky Lucky Lucky (1984), Open Mind (1989) and Seaside Attraction (1990).

It is the first Oaks victory for Saez.

Longshot Yuugiri and the undefeated Echo Zulu rocketed to the front from the gate and led the field of 14 through early fractions of :22.45 and :46.51.

In the run down the backstretch, Saez has Secret Oath outside of horses and in eighth. Approaching the far turn, Secret Oath began to pick off horses and by the time the field reached the top of the stretch, Secret Oath had moved to the outside of Echo Zulu and reached even terms.

Secret Oath assumed command at the three-sixteenths pole and opened a clear advantage that was more than enough to hold off Nest who rallied for second over Desert Dawn.

“When I saw [Secret Oath and Saez] moving around the turn and I turned and hugged my wife and said ‘here we go,’” Lukas said. “It feels great. I’ve said all week, as trainers we think it’s us. After you win one, the real satisfaction is for the (owners) who raised her and let them have the opportunity to enjoy this and get the thrill.”

Secret Oath, bred in Kentucky by Stacy and Rob Mitchell, is a daughter of Arrogate out of the Quiet American mare Absinthe Minded. The winner’s share was $705,250 and boosted Secret Oath’s bankroll to $1,288,417 with a record of 8-5-0-2.

Secret Oath returned $10.80, $5.60 and $4.60. Nest, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., returned $4.20 and $3.20 and finished a half-length in front of Desert Dawn who paid $15.40 to show under Umberto Rispoli.

It was another half-length back to Echo Zulu who was followed in order by Kathleen O., Shahama, Turnerloose, Cocktail Moments, Candy Raid, Nostalgic, Goddess of Fire, Hidden Connection, Yuugiri and Venti Valentine.

NOTES The only Midlantic-bred to compete in a Churchill stake was the Pennsylvania-bred Caravel in the Grade 2 Twin Spires Turf Sprint. Facing males, the five-year-old mare finished sixth, beaten just over three lengths. Arrest Me Red, the post-time favorite, won the race by nearly two lengths… In the day’s other Grade 1, the La Troienne for fillies and mares, Pauline’s Pearl (Steve Asmussen trainer/Joel Rosario jockey) wore down 4-5 favorite Shedaresthedevil in 1:42.46 for 1 1/16 miles. It was the first Grade 1 win for Pauline’s Pearl, who now has five wins and almost $1.5 million in earnings from 13 career starts…

  • Secret Oath won the Kentucky Oaks. Photo Churchill Downs.