Updated on 09/18/2011 2:36AM

Leah's Secret handles switch to dirt


LAUREL, Md. – Good form on Polytrack doesn’t always mean much when a horse returns to dirt. As far as trainer Helen Pitts is concerned, however, the last two races Leah’s Secret ran on artificial surfaces set her up perfectly for going one mile on Laurel Park’s main track.

Leah’s Secret, the 18-1 upset winner of the Grade 2 Raven Run at Keeneland in her last start, came from off the pace to defeat 7-5 favorite Baby Bird by three-quarters of a length in Saturday’s $125,000 Anne Arundel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Leah's Secret, ridden by Mark Guidry, paid $9 to win as the second choice in a field of 11.

The Arundel was one of six stakes on the De Francis Memorial undercard.

Leah’s Secret, now 5 for 9 lifetime, was making her first start on dirt since finishing last of seven, beaten 21 lengths, in the mud at Arlington Park in early August. Pitts, however, said she was confident that Leah’s Secret, a daughter of Cherokee Run, would run well coming off two tries on Polytrack.

“If anything, it’s a little advantage to go from Polytrack to dirt, because you’ve got to be a big horse to run well on Polytrack,” said Pitts.

Leah’s Secret, who raced just once at 2, is huge for a filly. “She’s great to get on in the morning,” Pitts said. “It’s like being on a colt.”

The win made for a happy homecoming for Pitts, 32, who grew up in Maryland, where her father was a steward. She was also a longtime assistant to Frannie Campitelli at Pimlico. Pitts won her first Maryland stakes in September 2005 with Sweet Talker in the Martha Washington.

“It’s really great to come home where I started and win a race like this,” Pitts said. “It’s doubly special for me.”

Leah’s Secret ran the mile on a fast track in 1:36.79. Baby Bird held off Les By Leigh by a head for second.

Laurel Futurity: Strike a Deal gets up

Strike a Deal ($8.60) ran down Rutledge Cat in deep stretch to win the $125,000 Laurel Futurity by 1 1/4 lengths.

It was the second stakes winner on the card for jockey Ramon Dominguez, who rode Strike a Deal for trainer Alan Goldberg and Jayeff B Stables.

Dominguez said he was worried when Rutledge Cat and Corey Nakatani opened a 2 1/2-length lead with only a furlong remaining.

“I had to make my move a little later than I wanted,” Dominguez said. “I was very concerned when the lead horse go away off the turn. I angled my horse out, and he responded.”

Strike a Deal was coming off a second-place finish in the Pilgrim at Belmont Park, also contested over soft ground. He completed 1 1/16 miles on yielding turf in 1:45.94.

Brainy Benny, a European import who was part of a Bill Mott-trained entry that went favored at 3-2, finished third, 7 3/4 lengths behind the runner-up.

Selima: Street Sounds draws clear

Street Sounds ($3.60) put away pacesetter Changeisgonnacome entering the stretch and drew off to a 3 3/4-length win in the $125,000 Selima Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

Ridden by Dominguez for trainer Michael Matz, Street Sounds had most recently finished third in the $125,000 Jessamine at Keeneland. A $400,000 purchase as a yearling, Street Sounds ran 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:46.35.

Changeisgonnacome held on to second, a half-length in front of 17-1 shot Bitter Lemon.

Matz said Street Sounds, a Canadian-bred daughter of Street Cry owned by Hidden Creek Farm, will get an extended vacation in Florida and prepare for her 3-year-old campaign.

“She’s a Canadian-bred, so we have several options to look at,” Matz said. “The 3-year-old filly series in Canada is worth quite a bit of money.”

Stefanita: Plata edges Miss Elsie

Plata ($12), switching back to her best distance on dirt after an unsuccessful experiment on turf, outfought Miss Elsie down the stretch and prevailed by a neck in the $100,000 Stefanita Stakes for fillies and mares.

A 5-year-old mare trained by Katherine Voss, Plata is now 3 for 4 going seven furlongs on the main track. She ran the distance in 1:23.54 under jockey Ryan Fogelsonger.

Voss said her biggest concern was Plata’s tendency to expend too much energy in the paddock.

“She can get so wound up it’s almost impossible for a human to restrain her,” Voss said of Plata, who is now 7 for 14 lifetime, including the restricted Northview Stallion Stakes at Pimlico earlier this year. “She’s been training awesome and came out of her last race bouncing, so we felt very good about this spot.”

Miraculous Miss, the 4-5 favorite facing older horses for only the second time in her nine-race career, was last of nine early and rallied belatedly to finish third, 1 1/2 lengths behind runner-up Miss Elsie. It was the second straight loss for Miraculous Miss after she had won 6 of her first 7 starts.

April Run: Art Fan catches longshot

Art Fan ($22) ran down loose-on-the-lead 100-1 shot Sassy Love to post a one-length victory in the $100,000 April Run Stakes for fillies and mares on the turf.

A 5-year-old mare ridden by Jeremy Rose for trainer Hamilton Smith, Art Fan had finished second by a neck in last year’s April Run. She was racing for the first time since late August. It was her first win in five starts this season but her third in five races lifetime over Laurel’s turf course. She got 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.83.

Art Fan’s uncoupled stablemate, Humoristic, finished third, 2 3/4 lengths behind Sassy Love.

Latice, the 4-5 favorite, never threatened and finished ninth. She displayed soreness in her left hind leg after pulling up.

Laurel Turf Cup: Fishy Advice rallies

In a switch of his usual tactics, favored Fishy Advice ($6.20) came from off the pace to defeat longshot My Dream by a head in the $100,000 Laurel Turf Cup.

Ridden by Mario Pino for trainer David Donk, Fishy Advice avoided getting involved in a pace battle with longshots King’s Cornation and Sir Classic Chris to close late, winning for the first time since taking the $200,000 Caesar Rodney at Delaware Park in July.

The winning time for 1 1/8 miles was 1:51.77.

* Busy Prospect ($8.20), stretching out beyond six furlongs for the first time in six starts this season, broke on top under Erick Rodriguez and cruised to a 4 1/4-length victory in the $50,000 Maryland Million Starter Handicap at one mile.