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Woman’s Secret: Horse Racing’s Iron Woman



Trainers search for hope once they eyeball younger horses. Coach D. Wayne Lukas didn’t see a lot cause for optimism when he first laid his eyes on Woman’s Secret.

She lacked dimension and by no means would weigh a lot. She seemed to be something however sturdy.

“I used to be actually involved that she was by no means going to quantity to something,” Lukas recalled of the daughter of Secretariat who was foaled in 1982 at a farm he then owned in Oklahoma.

Then once more, appears to be like could be deceiving. Within the case of Woman’s Secret, they have been extremely deceiving.

After being bought by Eugene Klein, then proprietor of the San Diego Chargers, and coming into Lukas’ barn, she stitched collectively monstrous seasons in 1985 and 1986.  She was a decided front-runner, capable of set crisp fractions one furlong after one other with out displaying any indicators of weakening or yielding to late-charging opponents.

“She was good from the get-go,” Lukas stated.

Regardless of appearances, she proved to be so gritty and durable that she got here to be celebrated because the “Iron Woman.” In 45 begins, she produced 25 victories, 9 runner-up finishes, and three third-place showings. She was the main feminine by purse earnings with $3,021,325 on the time of her retirement.

“She simply overachieved day after day, and also you by no means obtained to the underside of her,” Lukas stated.

Woman’s Secret pointed to the success that was to come back when she received the Moccasin Stakes at age 2. She swept the Take a look at Stakes, Ballerina Handicap, and Monmouth Park’s Remorse Handicap in 1985, which resulted in a runner-up end to stablemate Life’s Magic in that yr’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff, a testomony to the depth in Lukas’ barn at the moment. She took the Ruffian Handicap, Beldame Stakes, and Maskette Handicap in each 1985 and 1986. She gave all the pieces she had each time in these two memorable years.

“She was upkeep free,” Lukas stated. “All we needed to do was run her and search for the subsequent race.”

Her 1986 marketing campaign was one to savor, culminating within the Eclipse Award as champion older feminine and, helped by Lukas’ intelligent dealing with, Horse of the Yr. He put her to an enormous check by having her oppose males within the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga Race Course. She responded by turning into the primary feminine to win that prestigious race since Gallorette in 1948. She by no means failed to complete at the very least third in three different Grade 1 contests towards males within the Met Mile, Philip H. Iselin Handicap, and Woodward Stakes.

Lukas felt a daring stroke is likely to be required if Woman’s Secret was to be deemed worthy of Horse of the Yr.

“We all the time calculated what our probabilities could be and tried to be sensible about it,” he stated of getting her step exterior her division. “You don’t do this frivolously.”

Apparently, with Horse of the Yr honors presumably at stake, Lukas determined towards operating Woman’s Secret within the 1986 Breeders’ Cup Traditional. His gambit paid off. She wired the sphere within the Distaff at Santa Anita Park, then Lukas watched as front-running Skywalker pulled a wanted upset towards Turkoman, a Horse of the Yr contender, within the Traditional.

All that remained was for Lukas to state his case, which has by no means been an issue for him.

“Whether it is Horse of the Yr, not of the second, then it’s a must to look from January to January,” he stated on the time.

Woman’s Secret was retired the next season. She achieved racing immortality when she was inducted into the Racing Corridor of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. in 1992.

She by no means loved success as a broodmare. Some issues are usually not meant to be. It appears becoming that there needs to be just one “Iron Woman.”

Be aware: This story was initially printed in July 2016 and has been up to date.


Enjoyable Info

  • Ranked 76th in BloodHorse journal’s itemizing of prime 100 Thoroughbred racehorses within the twentieth century.
  • Put up for public sale 3 times at finish of racing profession after failing to fulfill excessive reserve on first two events.
  • Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., entertains prospects at Woman’s Secret Café.
  • Avenue the place proprietor Eugene Klein lived was renamed Woman’s Secret Drive.
  • Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., established a race in her honor in 1993. The race subsequently was renamed the Zenyatta Stakes.



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