Upset Hope Gallant Secret Drills for Fleur de Lis

(from Churchill Downs notes)
Gallant Secret tuned up for an upset bid in the $300,000-added Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) on the "Stephen Foster Super Saturday" card with a solid three-furlong blowout on Wednesday at Churchill Downs.

The 4-year-old daughter of Menifee covered the distance over a "fast" track in :36 4/5 for veteran trainer James Jackson. The work ranked 12th of 22 works at the distance.

Jackson thinks his filly is ready for her best, but whether that's good enough to contend with the likes of Fleur de Lis favorites Oonagh Maccool and Happy Ticket is the question.

"She's as ready as she can be," said Jackson. "She's doing good, she's on her game and she's eating everything that you put in front of her. I've got no excuses for her right now except that she's running against the bears again."

Gallant Secret is coming off a third-place finish behind Fleur de Lis rivals Oonagh Maccool and La Reason, both from the powerhouse stable of Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, in the Louisville Breeders' Cup (gr. II) on Kentucky Oaks Day. Before that she had scored an easy win in the Fairway Fun over polytrack at Turfway Park. At 3, Gallant Secret was a 43-1 outsider in the Kentucky Oaks (GI), but rallied to finish third behind Summerly and In The Gold.

It may not come on Saturday, but Jackson believes that he will find a big race someday that will end with Gallant Secret in the winner's circle.

"We think there's one out there with her name on it," said Jackson. "We'd like to win of those graded races. We think she deserves it. She really runs hard."

Veteran jockey Bill Troilo, who is just coming off the shelf after being sidelined by injury, will ride Gallant Secret on Saturday. Gallant Secret will bring a career record of 5-3-6 in 20 races and earnings of $299,889 into the Fleur De Lis.

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