BALTIMORE — Secret Oath made another impressive move from the back of the pack, but couldn't close the gap.
The filly who won the Kentucky Oaks a couple of weeks ago finished fourth in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday in a tough field featuring eight colts. The pace was not nearly as fast as the Kentucky Derby, and Secret Oath charged ahead before the final turn and kept going — reaching the finish line behind only winner Early Voting, Epicenter and Creative Minister.
“The fractions being slow like that, it was hard to run down,” 86-year-old Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. “She made a big, sweeping run. It wasn't her day.”
Secret Oath was vying to be the seventh filly to win the Preakness and second in three years after Swiss Skydiver in 2020. She got off to a decent start but didn't have the speed to catch some of the horses who could be the best 3-year-old males in the country.
“She broke the way she was supposed to, but everyone was all over the place,” jockey Luis Saez said. “She made her move, but when we came to the top of the stretch, the winner just kept going. It was a tough race.”
The owners of Creative Minister ponied up $150,000 to enter him in the Preakness after he was not nominated for the Triple Crown. Finishing third earned them $181,500 — justifying the extra investment.
“He ran a really good race," said Kenny McPeek, who along with his wife owns 10% of the horse. “He showed he deserved that he belonged. Considering his lack of experience, he was fantastic.”
Creative Minister beat much lesser competition on Kentucky Derby day.
After finishing fourth in the Derby, Simplification was sixth in the Preakness and ran into some unforeseen trouble. Trainer Antonio Sano said Simplification was bleeding during the race.
“He has never bled,” Sano said. “It was the first time.”
This is the second year of the Triple Crown banning the use of Lasix, a drug given to help prevent pulmonary bleeding that can also work as a diuretic.
Lukas won a $100,000 stakes race on the Preakness undercard with Ethereal Road in the Sir Barton. Ethereal Road was the horse whose late withdrawal from the Kentucky Derby allowed in eventual winner Rich Strike,
Ethereal Road's late-charging comeback victory even made the legendary trainer second-guess himself.
“We probably should have left him in the Derby, but that’s hindsight,” Lukas said. "We can definitely build off this.”
Lukas apologized to Epicenter trainer Steve Asmussen for taking Ethereal Road out of the Derby at the eleventh hour after Rich Strike passed the favorite down the stretch two weeks ago to win at odds of 80-1.
That was little consolation for Asmussen after Epicenter was second again in a Triple Crown race.