Edited press release
WinStar Farm’s favored Leah’s Secret backed off of an early speed duel and came late to pick up the pieces at Aqueduct Nov. 28, rallying past Slewfoundmoney for a three-quarter-length victory in the 69th running of the grade II, $150,000 Top Fight Handicap (VIDEO) for fillies and mares at a mile.
With Any Limit, Slewfoundmoney, Altesse and Rite Moment on the lead, jockey Eibar Coa allowed Leah’s Secret to relax into a stalking position. Any Limit emerged with the lead, but had to run an opening quarter mile of 23.24 and a half in 45.92 on the fast main track to do it.
The pace wilted the frontrunner, and Slewfoundmoney took over the lead into deep stretch. Coa, who had drafted in behind horses, moved Leah’s Secret out on the turn and came widest of all down the lane. He gave the 5-year-old Tiger Ridge mare seven pops with his right hand, before turning his stick down and hand-riding her to the victory in 1:36.40. Boca Grande was third, with So Glitzy, Altesse, Any Limit, Shining Image, and Rite Moment trailing. Weathered was scratched.
“She did everything I asked her to,” Coa said. “She’s a very helpful horse, very professional. I loved her today; she was ready to run.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher was so impressed with the victory that he said he may delay plans to retire her and may try to race her again in the Sunshine Millions. The Sunshine Millions features Florida-breds and California-breds in races at Gulfstream Park in Florida and at Santa Anita Jan. 24, 2009.
“It was a big run from her,” Pletcher said. “She did everything professionally. We were fortunate to pick her up earlier this year. She’s been a real pleasure for us. I’m pretty sure she has a date with Distorted Humor , but she is eligible for the Sunshine Millions. She is in such good form now, that I might ask WinStar for one more race.”
Leah’s Secret, who returned $7.60 to win, has now won eight of 25 starts and earned $865,805. In addition to the Top Flight, she has won two other grade II stakes –the Lexus Raven Run at Keeneland and the Chilukki at Churchill Downs – as well as the grade III Chicago Handicap, the Anne Arundel Stakes, and the Lazer Show Handicap.
Bred in Florida by Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds, Leah’s Secret was purchased by WinStar for $525,000 from the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment to the 2007 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November mixed sale.