07/07/2014 1:08PM

Dam of Breeders’ Cup winner Pluck dies

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Sara Fagan/Denali Stud
Broodmare Secret Heart, shown here with her yearling Kitten's Joy colt, has died at 15.

Secret Heart, the dam of 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Pluck, died over the weekend at Denali Stud in Paris, Ky. The 15-year-old Fort Wood mare was in foal to first-year stallion Point of Entry at the time of her death; a cause of death has yet to be determined. 

A stakes winner in her native South Africa, Secret Heart was also multiple stakes-placed, including third-place efforts in both the South African Fillies Guineas and Cape Times Fillies Guineas. She concluded her racing career in the U.S. after Team Valor imported her in 2004.

Secret Heart is the dam of two winners from three starters. Her first foal, Pluck, won the Grade 3 Summer Stakes in Canada as a juvenile and followed up by overcoming an outside post and a troubled trip to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs. A son of popular shuttle sire More Than Ready, Pluck now stands for Vinery in Australia. His 2-year-old full brother sold for $210,785 at the Tattersalls breeze-up sale in England in April.

Secret Heart also produced Three Hearts, who finished third in the Grade 3 Virginia Oaks. The mare’s final foals are a yearling Kitten’s Joy colt, and a Medaglia d’Oro colt born this year.

“She was the ideal mare,” Team Valor CEO Barry Irwin said. “She had speed, she had size, her pedigree improved every year and her first foal was sensational. This is a hard one to swallow.”

Out of the stakes-winning Bush Telegraph mare Secret Pact, Secret Heart was a half-sister to South African champion and stakes producer Promisefrommyheart, to South African Group 1 winner Covenant, and to Group 3-placed London Niece.