Secret Oath wins the G3 Honeybee at Oaklawn (Coady Photography)
By Robert Yates – Oaklawn Barn Notes
HOT SPRINGS, Ark.— Secret Oath, among the country’s leading 3-year-old fillies of 2022, is targeting the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 11 at Oaklawn for her 2023 debut, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Thursday morning.
A homebred for Briland Farm (Robert and Stacy Mitchell), Secret Oath has been based at Oaklawn since early December. She blossomed at the 2021-2022 Oaklawn meeting, posting blowout victories in a New Year’s Eve allowance race, $200,000 Martha Washington Stakes and the $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3). After finishing third against males in the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1), Secret Oath won the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) last May at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky Oaks is the country’s biggest race for 3-year-old fillies.
Secret Oath concluded her busy nine-race 2022 campaign with a fifth-place finish in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) Nov. 5 at Keeneland. The 1 1/8-mile race was Secret Oath’s first against older horses.
“She’s having a great, great month,” Lukas said. “Just light training. She’s filling out to her frame, eating really well. Put on, probably, 35, 40 pounds the right way. Real pleased.”
The Azeri is the penultimate race in Oaklawn’s series of two-turn stakes races for older fillies and mares. It concludes with the $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 15. The Azeri and Apple Blossom are both 1 1/16 miles.
“Exactly,” Lukas said, when asked if the Azeri would be Secret Oath’s prep for the Apple Blossom.
From the first crop of deceased champion Arrogate, Secret Oath has a 5-2-3 mark from 13 lifetime starts and earnings of $1,768,417.