Cotillion Noms Include Kentucky Oaks Winner Secret Oath

September 13, 2022

BENSALEM, Pa.— The 53rd running of the Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion Stakes for 3-year-old fillies has drawn 16 nominations for a chance to start in the 1 1/16-mile co-feature on betPARX Pennsylvania Derby Day at Parx Racing. The Cotillion will be one of four graded stakes among the 10 stakes races on the Sept. 24 program. 

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has enjoyed success in almost every American stakes over his legendary career, but the 87-year-old Hall of Famer has yet to grace the winners’ circle in the Cotillion. That could change this year with his multiple graded stakes-winning filly Secret Oath.  

Briland Farm’s Arrogate filly could make her eighth start of 2022 in the Cotillion, coming off her runner-up finish behind Nest in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes Aug. 20 at Saratoga Race Course. She also finished second behind Nest in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga after defeating that rival in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. Secret Oath also finished third against males in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park and fourth against males in the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. 

Lukas believes that a victory in the Cotillion would put his filly back in the running for the 3-year-old filly championship. 

“I think it does, yes,” Lukas said. “But we still have to probably go head-to-head with (Nest) to get the right answer. Right now, on this day, she is better than we are. We are looking forward to getting down there for the Cotillion.”

Secret Oath will train at Saratoga Race Course before shipping Parx the week of the Cotillion. 

Michael Lund Peterson’s Adare Manor could prove a tough foe should she travel from California for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Uncle Mo was winless in two starts as a 2-year-old but returned to break her maiden by 12 lengths at Santa Anita Park before a 13-length victory in the Grade 3 Las Virgenes in early February. Named for a five-star hotel and golf resort in Limerick, Ireland, Adare Manor finished second in the Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks and second in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico.

“We were very high on her, and she has sort of went off form a little bit,” Baffert said. “She got beat in the Santa Anita Oaks and we did not go to the Kentucky Oaks. She ran back in the Black-Eyed Susan and got beat. She has trained really well since then.”  

Adare Manor has been firing multiple bullet works from Baffert’s summertime base at Del Mar in anticipation of her next start. 

Baffert may also opt to send the lightly raced Fun to Dream, who has yet to make a start against graded stakes company. The California-bred daughter of Arrogate, unraced at 2, broke her maiden by 6 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita then returned to win the Fleet Treat Stakes by 9 3/4 lengths.  

Baffert has started four fillies in the Cotillion and has yet to finish off the board after finishing fourth with Bonnie Blue Flag in 2010. He won with Plum Pretty in 2011 before Jojo Warrior’s finished third in 2014 and Abel Tasman finished second in 2017. 

Alyfife Racing’s Fingal’s Cave is undefeated through four career starts and has yet to face graded stakes company, but the New York-bred would be an interesting entrant should she venture out of her home state for the first time. After breaking her maiden by 8 1/2 lengths May 21 at Belmont Park, the David Donk trainee returned to win an allowance race by 9 lengths. The filly by Carpe Diem shipped north and showed that she could transfer her speed with a pair of wins at Saratoga Race Course that included the Fleet Indian Stakes over a muddy, sealed track.

Others nominated to the Cotillion are Joseph Besecker’s Bazinga C (Timothy Kreiser); All IN Racing Stables and J P S Stable’s Beach Daze (Farrel Mann); Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Long Valley Stable’s Divine Huntress (H. Graham Motion); Klaravich Stables’ Gerrymander (Chad Brown); Red Oak Stable’s Goddess of Fire (Todd Pletcher); Team Valor International’s Green Up (Todd Pletcher); Flurry Racing Stable’s Interstatedaydream (Brad Cox); Gatsas Stable’s Midnight Stroll (John Terranova); LC Racing, Cash is King and Gary Barber’s Morning Matcha (Robert Reid Jr.); Thomas G. Coulter’s New Hire (Erin McClellan); KHK Racing’s Shahama (Todd Pletcher) and Peter E. Blum Thoroughbred’s Society (Steve Asmussen). 

The betPARX Pennsylvania Derby and Cotillion Day card also includes the Grade 2, $300,000 Gallant Bob Stakes; Grade 3, $300,000 Turf Monster Stakes; Grade 3, $200,000 Greenwood Cup Stakes; $200,000 Parx Dirt Mile Stakes; $200,000 Alphabet Soup Handicap; $200,000 Plum Pretty Stakes; $200,000 Prince Lucky Stakes; and $200,000 Imply Stakes. First post Saturday, Sept. 24 is 12:05 p.m. ET.

By Anthony Affrunti and Tim Wilkin
Photo: Secret Oath winning the G3 Honeybee at Oaklawn Feb. 26, 2022, (Coady Photography) 

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