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Daughter of Secretariat had own stylish career

By Staff | Jul 28, 2017

She was a smallish, almost-white package of enthusiasm and maximum effort.

And she defied the conventional wisdom that hoarsely shouted that the famed Secretariat didn’t have foals that did much in their racing careers.

At only about 900 pounds, the snowy Lady’s Secret still stood tall when it came to searching racing history for a proud daughter of Secretariat.

Probably her most noticeable claim to fame was the 1986 Eclipse Award she won as Horse of the Year. There are not many female thoroughbreds that can stand proud in their paddocks and nicker a tune that says, “I was a Horse of the Year champion.”

The public always found their way to the betting windows to throw a few bob down on Lady’s Secret. They knew she would be easy to spot when she nearly always took the lead in her 45 career races – and then sped along as a white vision of speed in a field of bays, browns, near-blacks and chestnuts.

So consistently competitive and healthy was Lady’s Secret that she became known as the “Iron Lady” because she remained injury-free throughout her three-year racing career.

Born in Oklahoma, she was sold to Eugene Klein, owner of football’s San Diego Chargers at the time. Klein paid $200,000; stating that he was impressed by her blood lines rather than be frightened by her smaller size. Klein could point to her grandfather (Bold Ruler) and grandmother (Sovereign Lady) as well as others hanging from the family tree – Nasrullah, Nearctic, Princequillo, Shenanigans (the mother of female titan, Ruffian), Nearco, Native Dancer and Olympia.

Klein had turned her on-track education over to D. Wayne Lukas, who wondered what the mustachioed football owner saw in her until the wispy whitish filly turned his thinking around by winning four graded stakes as a two-year-old.

“She was maintenance free,” said the never publicity-shy Lukas. “She came to work and always gave us everything she had.”

As a star-studded four-year-old, Lady’s Secret ran 15 times and won 10 of her races. Her eight Grade I wins in 1986 were the most-ever by a female. And her reward after closing that campaign with a first-place in the Breeder’s Cup Distaff was to be honored as the Horse of the Year.

Her front-running style brought 25 wins in her 45 races. Nine times she placed second. And when retired in late 1987, she was the all-time female money winner with just over $3 million in earnings.

All that “maintenance free” running was important enough to get her voted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

She was white. She was on the lead. She was a trainer’s dream to condition.

And she was Secretariat’s daughter.