Kentucky Oaks Winner Secret Oath Garners Favoritism in G1 Cotillion

September 20, 2022

BENSALEM, Pa.— A field of nine is entered for Saturday’s 53rd running of the Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Parx Racing. The 1 1/16 miles is the co-feature along with the betPARX Pennsylvania Derby on the card that includes two other graded stakes among the 10 total stakes.

Atop the Cotillion field is Briland Farm’s homebred Secret Oath, who will be making her eighth start of 2022 after two runner-up performances to Nest at Saratoga Race Course in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks and Grade 1 Alabama Stakes. The Kentucky-bred has been training at Saratoga toward her sixth career Grade 1 start, and could give Hall of Fame Trainer D. Wayne Lukas his first Cotillion victory. The Arrogate filly’s best race came on the eve of the Kentucky Derby when she bested Nest and 12 others in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks.

Adare Manor wins the Grade 3 Las Virgenes (Benoit Photo)

Michael Lund Petersen’s Adare Manor will ship from Southern California for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert in search of her first Grade 1 victory. The Kentucky-bred by Uncle Mo broke her maiden by 12 lengths at Santa Anita Park then won the Grade 3 Las Virgenes by 13 lengths before placing second in both the Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks and Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico in her most recent start.

Peter E. Blum Thoroughbred’s Society owns four wins from five starts after suffering her only career loss when a troubled fourth in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga. The Gun Runner filly returned to win the Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks and will try to give Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen his fifth Cotillion victory.

Shahama wins the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks (Ryan Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher will try for his fourth Cotillion with a trio of runners that includes KHK Racing’s Shahama. The daughter of Munnings, who was unbeaten in four starts in Dubai before returning to the U.S., comes off a second in the Grade 2 Mother Goose at Belmont Park and a victory in the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks in her last two starts. Pletcher will also send out Red Oak Stable’s Goddess of Fire, third in the Grade 1 Alabama last time; and Team Valor International’s Green Up, winner of the Cathryn Sophia at Parx last time.

The full field, with jockeys and morning-line odds:

1.     Green Up, Irad Ortiz Jr., 6-1;

2.     Adare Manor, Mike Smith, 7-2;

3.     Goddess of Fire, John Velazquez, 5-1;

4.     Beach Daze, Adam Bowman, 30-1;

5.     Gerrymander, Joel Rosario, 8-1;

6.     Secret Oath, Luis Saez, 2-1;

7.     Shahama, Flavien Prat, 8-1;

8.     Morning Matcha, Paco Lopez, 15-1;

9.     Society, Florent Geroux, 8-1.


GREEN UP (Post 1, 6-1), GODDESS OF FIRE (Post 3, 5-1) and SHAHAMA (Post 7, 8-1) – Trainer Todd Pletcher: “Green Up is a filly that trained very well even before we ran her in a maiden race. She was able to do well there. She always gave us the impression she’d improve with some added distance and that’s turned out to be the case. The obvious question here is it’s an obvious step up in class. She seemed to really enjoy herself at Parx last time.

“With Goddess of Fire, we’ve placed her pretty aggressively all along after her maiden win and she’s knocked on the door several times. When you look at her last race in the Alabama it was a very solid race, only 2 lengths behind Secret Oath, so hopefully she can continue to move forward. With the exception of the Kentucky Oaks she’s run well every time.

“Shahama was perfect in Dubai and then we were interested to see how she would train over here. She came over with the simple target of the Kentucky Oaks and we were very happy when she came in. She trained really well and like she belonged in the Oaks. She actually ran a better than it looks on paper race. She had an outside draw that day and that kind of worked against her, but she continued to run to the wire. Then she came back with a good race in the Mother Goose and her Monmouth Oaks was another step forward. We’ve been targeting this since then and she’s trained well for this. I’m sure she’ll try hard like she always does and hopefully she can take another step forward.”

ADARE MANOR (Post 2, 7-2) – Trainer Bob Baffert: “She is fine in the two. You just hope for a fast track and they ship well and all the stuff. She is training really well. I could have run her in a softer spot. This will be a class check for her.

(After the second-place finish in the Black-Eyed Susan, her last start May 20): “She got light and was not training as well as I would have liked her to. She is doing well now. She needs a certain kind of trip (she stalked in the Black-Eyed Susan), and I like the way she is doing right now.”

SECRET OATH (Post 6, 2-1) – Trainer D. Wayne Lukas: “The draw was fine, she had a little breather (since Saratoga). There are a few more horses in there than I thought but, for a million dollars, they are going to show up. When the horses are good and the riders are good, I don’t get too much involved with that (what the ideal post would be). I think that anybody would want to be on the outside. I think that is what everyone would prefer.”

MORNING MATCHA (Post 8, 15-1) – Trainer Butch Reid: “She’s doing great. There’s nothing wrong with that. The draw doesn’t matter to much her anyway she usually drops back pretty substantially and hopefully there will be enough speed in there to entertain each other and hopefully we’ll come running at the end. Green Up ran a monster race here, hopefully we get somebody to entertain her in a forward position. It’s a tough race. We got our work cut out for us that’s for sure. But she always gives an honest effort and she’s had a real good year so far. She’s familiar with the track so she’ll just walk right out of her stall and run, so that’s good.”

Parx Press Release

Main photo: Secret Oath and Luis Saez win the Kentucky Oaks (Coady Photography)

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