Trainer Lynn Whiting, preparing Cyber Secret for the $500,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. II) March 17, says he'd like nothing better than to recreate some of the magic of Lil E. Tee's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) victory in 1992.
“I called Pat Day the other day and asked him to come out of retirement,” joked Whiting March 2 of the Hall of Famer and all-time Oaklawn Park leading jockey who rode Lil E. Tee to his only Derby win 20 years ago. “I haven’t quite sold him yet."
Preparing for the March 17 Rebel, Cyber Secret posted his first workout March 1 at Oaklawn since placing fifth after a wide trip in a division of last month's Southwest Stakes (gr. III).
Charles Cella’s 3-year-old son of Broken Vow breezed a half-mile in :48 3/5, third fastest of 24 over the distance on a fast track.
“He went about as good as we could have hoped for him,” said Whiting. “I had to like it.”
Competing in the second division of the one-mile Southwest Feb. 20, Cyber Secret never engaged the pacesetters and lost ground on both turns while parked four-wide. The trip is part of why Whiting is undaunted about proceeding down the same trail that led to Derby glory for him with Lil E. Tee 20 years ago.
“He does still need to prove he’s a horse that can handle a mile-and-an-eighth and a mile-and-a-quarter, but he’s going to get that chance to prove it. We aren’t just going to run in races where it’s not warranted,” Whiting said.
“That work set him up a bit. I think we buzzed him a bit yesterday morning.”
The 1 1/16-mile Rebel is "the first option," according to Whiting, with a fallback being a trip to Turfway Park in Kentucky for the Vinery Spiral Stakes (gr. III) March 24. Whiting said despite winning the race known for many years as the Jim Beam Stakes three times, a trip there is only if “we blow the turn somehow.”