Secret Oath Continues Preparations for 4-Year-Old Debut

Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates

Contact: Jennifer Hoyt,

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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Secret Oath

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Secret Oath Continues Preparations for 4-Year-Old Debut

Millionaire Grade 1 winner Secret Oath continues to progress toward her 4-year-old debut in the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares March 11 at Oaklawn, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Thursday morning.

A homebred from Briland Farm (Robert and Stacy Mitchell), Secret Oath hasn’t started since finishing fifth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at 1 1/8 miles Nov. 5 at Keeneland. She returned to the work tab Jan. 8 at Oaklawn, recording a half-mile bullet (:47.60). Secret Oath subsequently breezed 5 furlongs Jan. 16 and Jan. 23.

“Everybody you talk to on their horse always tells you they love the way they’re training and everything,” Lukas said. "But I’m pleasantly surprised. I knew she’d fill out and put on weight and mature. I’m surprised how much she did this winter.”

The Azeri is the final major local prep for the $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 15. Both races are 1 1/16 miles. The Apple Blossom is the major spring objective for Secret Oath, whose dam, Absinthe Minded, finished second in the 2012 edition for Lukas and Briland Farm. Absinthe Minded also ran fourth in the 2012 Azeri.

“We’ll go straight into the Azeri,” Lukas said. “In fact, we could jump in any time here in February without a blink.”

Secret Oath was a runaway winner of the $200,000 Martha Washington Stakes and $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies last year at Oaklawn. She also captured the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1), the country’s biggest race for 3-year-old fillies, in May at Churchill Downs.

Secret Oath, a finalist for an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion 3-year-old filly, has a 5-2-0 record from 13 lifetime starts and earnings of $1,768,417.

Tyler’s Tribe Update

Iowa-bred sensation Tyler’s Tribe resumed training about a week ago and is scheduled to return to Oaklawn early next month, Tim Martin, the 3-year-old gelding’s co-owner/trainer, said Friday morning.

Tyler’s Tribe was sent to Martin’s nearby training center following a third-place finish in the $150,000 Advent Stakes for 2-year-old sprinters Dec. 9 at Oaklawn. Martin said Tyler’s Tribe winner bled during the 5 ½-furlong race and subsequently received “four of five weeks off.”

“Did some therapy on him,” Martin said. “He’s doing good. I’ll probably bring him back to the track in another week or so.”

Tyler’s Tribe won his first five career starts, all dirt sprints at Prairie Meadows in Iowa, by a combined 59 ¾ front-running lengths before finishing 12th the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) Nov. 4 at Keeneland.

Tyler’s Tribe led early, began to back up on the turn, was eased in the stretch and then vanned off after bleeding. On a scale of 1 to 5, Martin called the bleeding incident, “a 5.”

Tyler’s Tribe was racing without Lasix for the first time in the Juvenile Turf (it is prohibited in the Breeders’ Cup), but he competed on the anti-bleeder medication in the Advent. Tyler’s Tribe was beaten 3 ½ lengths in the Advent after leading in midstretch. Tyler’s Tribe was sent to Martin’s training center in Royal following the race.

“I kept him in a stall, but I turned him out through the day,” Martin said. “I jogged him a couple of days a week. Just had my guy train him a couple of days a week, just jog, because he gets a little bit too high and crazy. The rest of the day, just turn him out, trying to get some R & R and get him healed up. Hopefully, we’re on track.”

Martin said he plans to begin breezing Tyler’s Tribe “in a couple of weeks,” but added next-race plans are pending. Martin said Tyler’s Tribe has filled out since a needed break from racing.

“Just going to work him and start him back going and just see how he does,” Martin said. “Make sure we’re all right. Did some therapy on him that’s supposed to be pretty effective. I’ve got a couple of bad bleeders and I’m guinea pigging them for him.”

From the first crop of millionaire Grade 1 winner Sharp Azteca, Tyler’s Tribe has a 5-0-1 record from seven lifetime starts and earnings of $320,169. He is a four-time stakes winner. Martin campaigns Tyler’s Tribe, a $34,000 yearling purchase, with Iowan Thomas D. Lepic.

Finish Lines

Kelsi Harr entered Saturday with $2,788,107 in career purse earnings at Oaklawn, just behind Cindy Murphy’s record $2,792,644 for a female jockey. The bulk of Murphy’s total came between 1997 and 2006 when she rode mostly as Cindy Noll. Harr, who began riding at Oaklawn in 2019, was named on three horses Saturday and three Sunday. Harr ($1,187,724) became the first female rider in Oaklawn history to surpass $1 million in purse earnings at a meet last season. … Jockey Francisco Arrieta recorded his 800th career North American victory in Friday’s eighth race at Oaklawn aboard Lucksme ($13) for co-owner/trainer Scott Becker, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. It was Arrieta’s 131st career Oaklawn victory. Arrieta began riding at Oaklawn in 2021 and was co-leading rider last season with 62 victories. … Jockey Keith Asmussen recorded his ninth career victory, and eighth for his father, Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, in Friday’s sixth race aboard favored American Band ($4). American Band represented the second career Oaklawn victory for Keith Asmussen. The first came for another Hall of Fame trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, Jan. 14 (Papa Rocket). American Band was Asmussen’s 827th career Oaklawn victory (No. 2 all time) and his 9,980th in North America, according to Equibase. Asmussen is North America’s all-time winningest trainer. He also has two victories not recognized by Equibase. Both were with Curlin in 2008 in the United Arab Emirates. … Post positions will be drawn Monday for the $250,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles Feb. 4. The Bayakoa is a major local prep for the $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) at 1 1/16 miles April 15.