Secret Oath Will Point To Ogden Phipps That 'Could Be A Real Bellringer' - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Secret Oath Will Point To Ogden Phipps That ‘Could Be A Real Bellringer’

Secret Oath after a near-miss in the G1 La Troienne

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas has been fortunate enough to have won the Belmont Stakes four times in his storied career. While the legendary horseman does not have a contender for this year's “Test of the Champion,” he does plan on sending up Secret Oath for the Grade 1, $500,000 Ogden Phipps on the same day.

The Ogden Phipps, contested at nine furlongs on June 10, is a Breeders' Cup “Win And You're In” qualifier for the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Distaff in November at Santa Anita. It is one of nine Grade 1 events slated to take place during the annual Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, highlighted by the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets.

Secret Oath, a Kentucky homebred owned by Briland Farm, captured last year's Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks over eventual Champion 3-Year-Old Nest, providing Lukas with his fifth Oaks conquest and first in 32 years. Now a 4-year-old, the Arrogate filly has finished a neck shy of victory in her last two starts in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom on April 15 at Oaklawn Park and the Grade 1 La Troienne on May 5 at Churchill Downs. She captured her 2023 debut in the Grade 2 Azeri on March 11 at Oaklawn.

“I think she's a better filly, but she has to be at this stage,” said Lukas, who saddled A Wild Ride [1991] and Hall of Famer Serena's Song [1996] to Ogden Phipps scores. “The fields get a lot steeper in these races for older fillies. This race here, just the way that it's lining up, could be a real bellringer. If everyone that they're saying might show up runs, it will be a very interesting betting race for the spectators.”

In the last out La Troienne, jockey Tyler Gaffalione claimed foul against John Velazquez aboard the winner Played Hard for interference in the stretch run. Secret Oath was eight wide around the turn and matched strides with Played Hard nearing the eighth pole with the latter lugging out. The objection was ultimately dismissed by the stewards.

“That affected us. It lost her concentration and broke her stride,” Lukas said. “They could have probably reversed that, but it's tough to do that in a race of that magnitude and grade. You could have made a case either way there. I would have liked to have been in a different position around the sixteenth pole, but it is what it is. It's racing and we'll move on from there.”

Secret Oath had a 1 1/2-length advantage at the stretch call of the Apple Blossom, but could not stave off the late rally of likely returning rival Clairiere.

“Tyler was still learning a little bit about her and he made his move a little too quick,” Lukas said. “He made a big move around the turn. We'd like to have both of those back, but we're in pretty good shape going into this race. She's bigger, stronger and doing well.”

Lukas said Secret Oath would ship to Belmont Park on Tuesday, June 6.

Secret Oath is out of the Grade 1-placed Quiet American mare Absinthe Minded. She boasts a record of 16-6-4-3 and earnings of $2,324,767.

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