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Will’s Secret Wallops Martha Washington Wannabes
Credit: Coady Photography

Will’s Secret Wallops Martha Washington Wannabes

HOT SPRINGS, AR – Willis Horton Racing homebred Will’s Secret walloped her wannabe rivals in Saturday’s $200,000 Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

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Will’s Secret broke from post 4 under Jon Court as the 8/1 fourth choice and sat back while Sylvia Q dueled with Lady Lilly and Joy’s Rocket through opening fractions of :23.61 and :47.35.

Joy’s Rocket snuck up the rail to take the lead, but Court tipped Will’s Secret out wide in the far turn and had her in front as the field straightened for home.

Widening her advantage when asked, the Dallas Stewart trainee crossed 5 1/4 lengths ahead while completing the muddy (sealed) two-turn mile in 1:38.78.

Credit: Coady Photography

“The strategy was to not let the speed separate from us and keep them within striking distance, just because it is a short stretch, short run to the wire,” Court said. “I was keeping that in mind and mindful that these horses do have speed that carries. They’ve shown it already and proven that they can win wire-to-wire, or right there off the pace. If they created too much separation and left too much for her to do, there’s a chance I might not catch that speed. She rallied up to get on by them.”

The 4/5 favorite Coach was squeezed out of contention early but made a good late bid to take second by a 1/2-length over Joy’s Rocket.

Sylvia Q, Lady Lilly, and Novel Squall completed the order of finish.

The Martha Washington is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Will’s Secret earned 10 points for the win, with Coach receiving 4 for second, Joy’s Rocket 2 for third, and Sylvia Q 1 for fourth.

Will’s Secret’s win was her second straight following an off-turf maiden special weight victory going 1 1/16 miles at Fair Grounds. The daughter of Will Take Charge (who also raced for Willis Horton Racing) improved her record to 5-2-0-2 with $163,300 earned.

“I was a little worried about it, honestly, because it was only a mile,” Stewart said. “She had been going a mile and 1/16. I just worried about shortening her up because it can be a little tricky sometimes. Obviously, she’s a lot smarter than me.”

Will’s Secret returned $18 to win, $6.20 to place, and $2.80 to show. Coach brought back $3 to place and $2.20 to show, while Joy’s Rocket paid $2.40 to show.

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