February 2, 2023

Secret Oath sparkles again at Oaklawn in Honeybee

Secret Oath wins the Honeybee Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

Secret Oath ran to expectations for a second time in stakes company this winter at Oaklawn Park when dominating Saturday’s $300,000 Honeybee S. (G3) by 7 1/2 lengths as the 3-10 favorite.

The Honeybee awarded 50 qualifying points toward the Kentucky Oaks (G1) to the winner, which now gives Secret Oath a current total of 60. She earned 10 points last month by taking the Martha Washington S. by 7 1/4 lengths as a 1-2 choice.

Although safely in the May 6 Oaks at Churchill Downs, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said connections would at least consider the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1) against males on April 2 for Secret Oath’s next start. The $600,000 Fantasy (G3) against fillies is scheduled for the same day.

“If you’re going to step out of the box and run against colts, you have to make sure you’re the best of that age group,” said Lukas, who won his first Arkansas Derby with the champion filly Althea in 1984.

Secret Oath has virtually run out of competition in the filly ranks at Oaklawn. Full of run but lacking room behind rivals around the far turn in the Honeybee, Secret Oath and jockey Luis Contreras found an opening on the inside passing the quarter pole and quickly opened up a commanding lead by mid-stretch. Secret Oath returned $2.60 after completing 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:44.74.

Ice Orchid finished second by 1 3/4 lengths over Yuugiri, with Free Like a Girl more than seven lengths behind in fourth. Red Queen and Optionality completed the order of finish. Ice Orchid earned 20 Oaks qualifying points, Yuugiri increased her total from four to 14, and Free Like a Girl earned five points.

A homebred racing for Robert and Stacy Mitchell’s Briland Farm, Secret Oath has now won $465,167 from a line of 6-4-0-1. Although she lost her debut by a wide margin and was a distant fifth in the Golden Rod (G2) in her stakes debut last November, she’s won her other starts by an average of more than seven lengths.

“We thought her real success would come with two turns,” Lukas said. “To see it three times in a row, I think she’s got it down. She’s really a pro.”

By the late champion three-year-old Arrogate, Secret Oath was produced by Absinthe Minded, a multiple stakes winner at Oaklawn who placed twice in the track’s signature event for fillies and mares, the Apple Blossom H. (G1). Absinthe Minded was sired by Quiet American.