Secret Oath gives Lukas 5th Kentucky Oaks win

Horse Racing

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Secret Oath charged from pack to seize the lead from Yuugiri and off favourite Nest by two lengths Friday within the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs, giving 86-year-old coach D. Wayne Lukas his fifth Oaks win and first since 1990.

Coming off a third-place run behind colts Cyberknife and Barber Street within the Arkansas Derby, the chestnut filly began the 14-horse race from the rail and was within the center as Yuugiri set the tempo by the ultimate flip. Secret Oath steadily labored ahead and moved into rivalry by the far flip earlier than surging alongside the rail into the lead.

Nest, the 2-1 favourite, made a push down the stretch however could not catch Secret Oath on the end. As she earned her fifth profession win in eight begins, the Corridor of Fame coach received his first Grade 1 stakes win because the 2017 Hopeful Stakes with Sporting Likelihood at Saratoga.

Lukas, who final gained the Oaks in 1990 with Seaside Attraction, additionally gained in 1989, 1984 and 1982. The win offset Ethereal Street’s defection from the Kentucky Derby earlier in Friday.

Ridden by Luis Saez, Secret Oath lined the 1 1/eighth mile on a superb observe in 1:49.44 and paid $10.80, $5.60 and $4.60. She took $767,250 for the win.

Nest returned $4.20 and $3.20 to position, and Desert Daybreak paid $15.40 to indicate.

Churchill Downs was again at full capability for the primary time since 2019 after two years of schedule adjustments with restricted spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Race followers – lots of whom ditched the face masks required the previous two runnings – enthusiastically returned beneath the Twin Spires and infield with girls in massive, colourful hats and males puffing cigars whereas sporting brilliant fits.

Not even a cool, cloudy afternoon with occasional showers spoiled the scene after being the restrictions. Later races have been delayed and followers retreated beneath the grandstands after storms moved over the historic observe.

A lot of the eye was on Nest, the 5-2 morning line favourite who dominated the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland by 8 1/4 lengths almost a month in the past. The filly had gained her previous three begins by almost 15 lengths mixed and aimed to offer coach Todd Pletcher consecutive Oaks victories.

Nest stayed shut the leaders and mounted a robust run within the stretch, however not sufficient to catch Secret Oath.

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