Ancient Secret remains perfect in Lake George
The opening day co-feature was reduced by a quartet of scratches – most notably Tin Type Gal (who opted for Sunday’s Boiling Springs [G3] at Monmouth) and Try Your Luck along with Enjoy Yourself and Flora Dora (who’s entered versus Songbird and Carina Mia in Sunday’s Coaching Club American Oaks [G1]).
Ancient Secret, trimmed to 2-1 favoritism by post time, enjoyed a straightforward trip under Irad Ortiz Jr., who racked up four wins on the card. Parked in fourth while Sky My Sky set fractions of :24.15 and :48.03, Ancient Secret cruised into a threatening third rounding the far turn through six furlongs in 1:11.03.
At the same time, Irish invader Diamond Fields was perfectly placed just behind the leader on the inside, and continued to travel well to the head of the stretch. As Ancient Secret rolled past Sky My Sky and her pace shadow Gone Away, Diamond Fields appeared to await room in close quarters. But when a yawning gap opened up, she didn’t take it, and Junior Alvarado virtually wrapped up on her. The reason was soon revealed: her saddle slipped, leading to Alvarado’s losing the irons late too. Diamond Fields might have been in contention for the minors if it weren’t that mishap.
In any event, Ancient Secret pulled away convincingly to finish 1 1/16 miles on the firm Mellon turf in 1:40.35. With that strong kick off moderate fractions, she posted a time just off Nani Rose’s stakes record of 1:40.11 established in 1999, and Rutherienne’s 1:40.34 from the 2007 Lake George.
Elysea’s World burst from farther back, slicing between foes, to round out the all-Brown exacta. Outsider Art, last for much of the way, rallied on the outside for a creditable third. Sky My Sky checked in fourth, followed by Thundering Sky, Gone Away, Baciami Piccola and the compromised Diamond Fields.
Ancient Secret has now bankrolled $259,200, all on turf. A May 20 foal, the chestnut captured her lone outing at two in a New York-bred maiden at Belmont Park last October. She dominated state-breds in her sophomore bow in a May 14 allowance, and handled the transition to open company in the June 19 Wild Applause. Her three prior starts all came around one turn over the same Widener course. Hence the Lake George shaped up as her first two-turn test, as well as her initial graded try.
"She's a remarkable horse," Brown said. "She always trained like a really quality animal, we just gave her little incremental goals and she's hit them all. I wasn't quite sure about the two turns. I know she's a top-class horse but I was curious to see what she was going to do when the gates opened, and she passed the test."
Bred by Lambholm in the Empire State, Ancient Secret sold for $225,000 as an OBS April 2-year-old in training. She is by Kantharos and out of the winning Notebook mare Privacy, from the further family of Grade 2 scorers Krisada, Spring Venture and Ahh Chocolate; multiple Grade 3-winning turfer Rahystrada; and 1985 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1)-winning champion Cozzene.
One of last year’s top turf fillies, Godolphin’s Sentiero Italia, returned triumphant in Friday’s 4TH race at the Spa. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by Joel Rosario, the 3-10 favorite outclassed her opposition following the late scratch of Tapitry.
Sentiero Italia stumbled after the start, but shrugged that off to secure an inside tracking trip, maneuvered into a seam, and asserted down the lane. Drawing away by 2 1/4 lengths from Selenite, she posted a sprightly final time of 1:40.11 over the same track and trip as the Lake George. The fractions in her allowance, however, were considerably faster at every call -- :23.42, :46.66 and 1:09.63.
A 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, Sentiero Italia promises to add to her graded resume highlighted by wins in the 2015 Lake Placid and Sands Point (G2). She was also third in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) and fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) when last seen.
Ancient Secret photo courtesy NYRA/Coglianese Photography/Adam Mooshian