OAKLAWN HANDICAP | PURSE: $500,000 | 4-YEAR-OLD & UP | GRADE 2| 1 1/8 MILES
Oaklawn Park president Charles Cella often has a smile on his face on the track's closing day, when crowds in excess of 60,000 typically congregate for the Arkansas Derby. Cella had even more reason to celebrate on Saturday when his four-year-old colt, Cyber Secret, streaked to his fourth consecutive win of the meet in the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap.
Under a ground-saving ride by Robby Albarado, Cyber Secret steadily made progress down the backside as Taptowne ripped through fractions of :22 4/5, :46 2/5 and 1:10 4/5. Racing in tandem with 1-2 favorite Fort Larned around the far turn, Cyber Secret edged clear of that rival while moving off the rail and took aim at Taptowne turning for home. Gaining the lead shortly before the eighth pole, Cyber Secret poured it on late to win by 5 3/4 lengths.
Covering 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:49 3/5, Cyber Secret paid $15, $6.20 and $4.60 as the 6-1 second choice. Taptowne, a 28-1 chance, easily held second by 2 3./4 lengths over 36-1 longshot Sabercat. The latter had a half-length on Optimizer.
The disappointment in the field was Fort Larned, last year's Breeders' Cup Classic winner, who was making his first start since losing jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. soon after the start of last month's Gulfstream Park Handicap. Fort Larned came under a ride from Hernandez passing the quarter pole but offered no response and finished fifth in the field of 10. The order of finish was rounded out by Win Willy, Atigun, Alternation, Unstoppable U and Golden Ron.
Trained by Lynn Whiting, Cyber Secret preceding this victory with allowance scores on January 21 and February 15, and in the Razorback Handicap by a head on March 9. The son of Broken Vow went unplaced in three stakes appearances at two and three before concentrating on passing his allowance conditions. His record now stands at 14-6-1-0 and his career earnings more than doubled here to $552,564.
Bred in Kentucky by Paragon Farms, Cyber Secret was a $110,000 Keeneland November weanling. He was produced by the Dixieland Band mare Stomping, a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Open Toe. Both were produced by the stakes-winning Cyane mare Foot Stone.
This female line produced Tempted, the champion older mare of 1959.