06/19/2016 6:38PM

Aztec Brave snaps five-race losing streak in Mystic Lake Mile

Coady Photography
Secret Someone, ridden by Alex Canchari, withstands a stewards' inquiry and jockey's objection to win the Lady Canterbury.

Aztec Brave might have been on a five-race losing streak but the plucky turf miler never lost his form and a typically game performance landed him back in the winner’s circle after the $100,000 Mystic Lake Mile on Sunday at Canterbury Park.

Breaking just a half-step slow under Chris Rosier, Aztec Brave emerged between horses into the first turn and landed a sweet pressing trip just outside Blue Bomber, who towed him along through very reasonable splits of 24.34 and 48.61seconds  before Aztec Brave, exerting minimal effort, took over coming off the far turn. Aztec Brave is neither big nor imposing, but he is fast and athletic, and as outside-rallying Granny’s Kitten spun a bit wide into the stretch, Aztec Brave dug in low to the ground and cornered with precision. That gave him a 2 1/2-length advantage at the stretch call, and Granny’s Kitten never got much closer, just holding off a late run for second from Nun the Less by a neck as Aztec Brave bounded home 1 1/2 lengths to the good.

Aztec Brave got a mile on firm turf in 1:35.95 and paid $6 as the favorite. Joe Sharp trains the winner for Brad Grady, and Aztec Brave, claimed for just $30,000 in October  2014, has taken the pair on a great ride.

“This horse has been something special to us,” said Sharp. “Brad Grady has been a huge part of where I am today, and this was one of the first horses we claimed together. We’re lucky to have a horse like this.”

Aztec Brave is a 5-year-old French-bred gelding by Lycius and out of the Spinning World mare Azteca.

Secret Someone wins first stakes in comeback

Jockey Alex Canchari apologized after winning the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes for making Secret Someone’s connections sweat out an inquiry and objection for interference in the stretch, but while Canchari did allow his mount to shift in after making the lead, it was his actions down the backstretch that even put Secret Someone in position to win.

Secret Someone ($10.60)  frequently has fallen out the back door in the early and middle portion of her races, but with Calypso Run loose on a big lead, Canchari encouraged his mount to move up into contending position with five furlongs still left to race. She did so willingly, collared Calypso Run at the top of the stretch, and finished with good energy to win her first stakes in her first start since September and first since being moved into the barn of Mike Stidham earlier this year.

“She changed her style a little bit from the way she used to run being 100 lengths last,” said Stidham.

Secret Someone already had gone past Calypso Run when she shifted toward the rail at the sixteenth pole, causing Chris Rosier on Calypso Run to check. Rosier lodged an objection after stewards called for an inquiry, but Calypso Run managed to hold second over America Mon Amie, and the judges ruled the incident didn’t affect the order of finish.

“I apologize for making them sweat a little bit, because she was much the best,” said Canchari. 

Calypso Run managed to open a 10-length lead on the backstretch despite going a moderate half-mile in 48.61 seconds. She could not finish with the winner, but held second by three-quarters of a length over America Mon Amie, who loomed inside at the quarter pole but couldn’t quicken with Secret Someone.

Secret Someone, bred and owned by Mt. Brilliant Stable, came into this race with 14 starts and three wins, having captured a maiden race and two allowance races, and this first stakes success was a plum for a 4-year-old filly with a big-time pedigree, by A.P. Indy and out of the Unbridled mare, Private Gift.

“We could have gone for a three-other-than at Churchill, but the goal was to get her some black type, and we’ve had good luck in the past at Canterbury,” Stidham said.