08/17/2007 12:49AM



You wouldn't have expected to see any track records set at Saratoga Thursday, given a dreary card where seven of the eight flat races were for maidens, statebreds or claimers, And you wouldn't have expected Saratoga's newest track-record holder to be a 13-1 shot who was bought for $10,000 three months ago. But that's exactly what happened when a 2-year-old filly named Secret Gypsy won her debut in the 6th race, scoring by 6 1/4 lengths and stopping the timer in a record 1:03.26 for 5 1/2 furlongs. The time was 0.06 seconds faster than the mark of 1:03.32 established on Opening Day in 2001 by Mayakovsky in a maiden race for 2-year-old males.

Secret Gypsy was a pretty well-kept secret, showing three half-mile Saratoga works of 48, 48-2 and 49 after four similar breezes at Churchill Downs. On Thursday, she kicked up a fuss about loading into the gate, then rocketed to the lead in fractions of 21.70 and 44.59, widening her lead at every call over well-meant Zito firster Overandabeauty. Secret Gypsy, a daughter of the Storm Cat stallion Sea of Secrets and the unraced Rahy mare Miss Utada, was purchased in May for $10k at a 2-year-old in training sale. and is trained by Ronny Werner.

Werner, best known for his work with Badge of Silver, Ermine and Unbridled Sydney, has long been renowned for getting young horses to run fast races. He has won with 28 first-timers from 188 starters over the last five years, though only two of those paid more than Secret Gypsy and most paid 4-1 or less.

Secret Gypsy's race was the lynchpin on an overlapping-pick-four Thursday, completing an an early sequence that paid $840 (including a race with multiple late scratches where the 4-5 winner was effectively 2-5) and kicking off a $4,108 late sequence where the other winners paid only $10.20, $6.80 and $7.70.

Secret Gypsy's record time earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 99, the second highest by a 2-year-old filly in North America this year behind the sidelined Rated Feisty's 103 at Churchill Downs May 3. The day that Mayakovsky set the previous mark, the track was deemed a bit slower than Thursday's and the colt earned a Beyer of 104. (Trivial digression: Who was the runner-up to Mayakovsky that day, earning a 99, who later ran second at long odds in a major Grade 1 race? Answer below.)

Secret Gypsy's 99 was one point better than Kodiak Kowboy got for winning the G2 Saratoga Special against colts an hour later in his fifth career start. Kodiak Kowboy waited for room on the turn before bursting through to score by 3 lengths over The Roundhouse in 1:15.95 for 6 1/2 furlongs. The day's only other dirt sprint was an unimpressive-looking 2-year-old statebred maiden claimer where firster Piquante Cat ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:05.51, 2.25 seconds slower than Secret Gypsy.

Trivial answer: On July 25, 2001, Mayakovsky scored by 1 1/4 lengths over Thunderello, who 15 months later ran second at 48-1 to Orientate in the 2002 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Arlington.

--Weekly reminder:


Wake up! Post time is 1 p.m. Friday.