Hollywood Park Race Report: Secret Speed

Published in the May 25 issue of The Blood-Horse
It took a year, but September Secret is finally ready to spread her wings. The daughter of Our Emblem certainly looked the part last summer, when she made her first appearance and promptly left behind, among others, a future champion named Tempera.

"I wasn't shocked when she won," recalled her trainer, Mike Machowsky. "I really thought she'd run huge that day. I thought she'd be one of the stars during the summer at Del Mar."

Instead, September Secret vanished as quickly as she blazed those first five furlongs last June, her blossoming career interrupted by a chipped knee. Ready to make up for lost time, the 3-year-old filly made a big statement on May 18, running off to win the $106,300 Railbird Stakes (gr. III) at seven furlongs.

Under jockey Pat Valenzuela, September Secret took on both Fun House and Halo Tyra early on in the Railbird, but after a swift half in :44.49, the others were merely running for second. Affairs of State, a daughter of Deputy Minister from the Bruce Headley barn, soon emerged to pick up the chase. September Secret, however, went unchallenged through the stretch, finally breaking the tape four lengths ahead of Affairs of State. The final time was 1:22.95.

There's no denying September Secret's talent. But to Machowsky, who once worked for trainer Richard Mandella when Phone Trick was the barn hero, the filly--now three for four in her short career--still requires some mental maturation. Consequently, plans call for September Secret to stick to sprinting at this point.
"I think she might in time," Machowsky said, mulling over the idea of stretching her out. "She's so naturally fast I don't want to do it to her right now."

The six-furlong Prioress Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont on July 6 is up next.

Much has been said about the supremacy of Bobby Frankel when it comes to Del Mar's Pacific Classic (gr. I). His work in the Jim Murray Memorial Handicap, however, isn't half bad either.

Named for the late Los Angeles Times sports columnist, the $80,175 Jim Murray was inaugurated in 1990, and Frankel wasted no time getting going, racking up four of the first five renewals and adding another one later on. On May 19, Skipping gave him No. 6.

A 5-year-old son of Rainbow Quest, Skipping is yet another budding grass star off the Juddmonte Farms assembly line. While Startac paced the field for 10 furlongs, Skipping and jockey Kent Desormeaux gradually made their way into contention. Turning for home, Skipping took off, swept past Startac, and drew clear to win by two lengths. He ran the 1 1/2 miles in 2:26.23.

At the Wire
Skimming--otherwise known as the Del Mar house horse--won't get a crack at his third Pacific Classic (gr. I) this summer. An ankle injury will keep the son of Nureyev out of action until fall, reported trainer Bobby Frankel...Meanwhile, Riviera, a grandson of Nureyev, showed he's still got some fire in his 8-year-old legs, springing back to action with a dynamite mile on grass May 16. Frankel trains the Kris horse for owner Edmund Gann...Timely Action finally got the job done on May 18, breaking his maiden by five lengths going six furlongs. Bred and owned by Herman Sarkowsky, the 3-year-old Gilded Time colt comes from the Richard Mandella stable...It certainly doesn't stack up with a potential Triple Crown, but Fit for a King has been putting together quite a run of his own. Dating back to the spring of last year, the son of General Meeting had rolled off seven straight wins before his streak was finally snapped last month. But the 9-year-old gelding got right back on the beam on May 18, taking a 51?2-furlong sprint on the grass by a neck. He is owned by Won Bong Roh and trainer Moon Han.

(Chart, Equibase)