Secret Oath wins Martha Washington in dominating fashion

January 29, 2022

HOT SPRINGS, AR – Briland Farm’s Secret Oath won like a 1-2 favorite should when she drew off to win Saturday’s $200,000 Martha Washington Stakes in dominating fashion and in the process earned 10 points towards eligibility in the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1).

Secret Oath settled into fourth as Optionality set easy fractions of :24 and :48 2/5 for the first half mile. The winner dragged her jockey Luis Contreras to the lead rounding the turn for home and from there the race was for second-place only as Secret Oath drew off to win by 7 ¼ lengths in 1:46 1/5 for 1 1/16 miles over a fast track.

Optionality held on for second, 4 ¾ lengths in front of Como Square. They earned four and two points, respectively towards Kentucky Oaks eligibility, while Hypersport earned one point for finishing fourth. The Kentucky Oaks is limited to 14 starters.

“I had a great trip,” Contreras said. “I had so much horse the whole way around. Once I got her on the outside of the horses, she gave me everything she had.”

Secret Oath dominates the field of the 44th Martha Washington (Coady)

Secret Oath, an Arrogate filly out of three-time Oaklawn stakes winner Absinthe Minded, won for the third time in five starts and had now earned $285,167. The heavy favorite paid $3, $2.20 and $2.10.

The remaining races in Oaklawn’s Kentucky Oaks series are the $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) (85 points) on Saturday, Feb. 26 and $600,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) (170 points) on Saturday, April 2.

Live racing resumes Sunday with a 12:30 p.m. first post.

Stakes quotes:

In the absence of Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, Secret Oath was saddled by his longtime assistant, Sebastian “Bas” Nicholl. 

Winning jockey Luis Contreras: “She’s a really good filly. I had a really clean trip. I had a good break and the fractions really weren’t strong in front. I just tried to keep her covered as much as I could. She was fighting with me. She wanted to go every single step of the race. I just tried to keep her covered behind another horse. When I put her outside, she just exploded.”

Winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas: “It was a replay (of her last race) and that’s what we were looking for. That consistency is now coming and we’re getting that maturity, as far as a professional racehorse. She’s been very manageable, but she was a little immature before. But I think it’s coming together now and we’ve just got to keep her happy and fat and we’ll go down the road. What was I thinking down the stretch? ‘Oh boy, oh boy. Here she comes.’ I said, ‘Let her roll.’ When she made that big move, the fractions were so slow early on, I thought that Steve’s (Asmussen) filly (Optionality) might just hang in there because they were slow. I was a little bit concerned, but not when she pulled up to their hips, back to the flanks. I said, ‘When he (Luis Contreras) let’s her go, she’s going to roll.’ “

Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., second on Optionality: “I saw that horse at the three-eighths (Secret Oath) and when I saw him (jockey Luis Contreras) pass me that easy, there was no way I was going to beat him. My horse ran well. Just second best.”

Oaklawn Park Press Release

Photo: Secret Oath wins the 44th Martha Washington Stakes: Coady Photography

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