SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Ancient Secret swept three wide at the top of the stretch and onto a rousing 1 ¼-length victory over fast-closing stablemate Elysea’s World, keeping her undefeated record intact and earning her first graded stakes in the 21st running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Lake George on Friday’s Opening Day at Saratoga Race Course.
With Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard, Ancient Secret broke alertly and settled in fourth behind front-running Sky My Sky, who took the field of eight 3-year-old fillies through an opening quarter in 24.15 seconds, with the half going in 48.03 and three quarters in 1:11.03. Given her cue on the turn, the New York-bred daughter of Kantharos ranged up alongside the pacesetter and Gone Away straightening for home and took the lead for good approaching the eighth pole.
Ancient Secret completed the 1 1/8 miles over the firm Mellon turf course in 1:40.35, and with the victory gave Ortiz, Jr. his third of four winners as he opened defense of his 2015 riding title at the Spa.
“It was a great opportunity to win three races on Opening Day,” said Ortiz, Jr., who then went on to win the last race aboard the Chad Brown-trained Market Strength. “We are on the right path and I’m looking to keep on going. Nothing’s over until it’s over, there are still a lot of races left in the meet.”
Owned by Alpha Delta Stable and trained by Brown, Ancient Secret won her first two starts facing state-breds, then took on open company and picked up her first stakes win when she headed Thundering Sky in the Wild Applause on June 19 at Belmont Park.
She returned $6.40 for a $2 win bet and increased her earnings to $259,200.
“She’s a remarkable horse,” said Brown of Ancient Secret. “She always trained like a really quality animal, we just gave her little incremental goals and she’s hit them all. I wasn’t quite sure about the two turns. I know she’s a top-class horse but I was curious to see what she was going to do when the gates opened and she passed the test.”
Elysea’s World split horses in the stretch to hit the wire a length ahead of Outsider Art, with Sky My Sky holding on for fourth. Checking in fifth was Thundering Sky, who was followed in turn by Gone Away, Baciami Piccola, and Diamond Fields.
Enjoy Yourself, Flora Dora, Try Your Luck and Tin Type Gal were scratched.