11/28/2008 12:00AM

Leah's Secret overcomes slow getaway

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Just as her career is coming to a close, Leah's Secret is blossoming.

After breaking a step slowly, Leah's Secret got herself into a good position under Eibar Coa, then outfinished Slewfoundmoney by three-quarters of a length in the final furlong to win Friday's Grade 2, $150,000 Top Flight Handicap at Aqueduct. Slewfoundmoney, who attended a solid early pace, held second by 1 1/2 lengths over Boca Grande.

So Glitzy, the longest shot on the board at 51-1, finished fourth and was followed in the order of finish by Altesse, Any Limit, Shining Image, and Rite Moment.

The win was the eighth in 25 career starts for Leah's Secret and pushed her career earnings to $865,805. She is scheduled to be bred to Distorted Humor next year, but trainer Todd Pletcher would love to run her in the Sunshine Millions Distaff at Santa Anita on Jan. 24 if her owners, WinStar Farm, allow.

Leah's Secret did her part to convince WinStar to keep her racing. After having to be backed out of the gate before the start, Leah's Secret was reloaded and then broke slowly. Coa said that Leah's Secret was "playing around in the gate" before the start, which is why she was backed out.

"As soon as she got back in, we broke, she wasn't 100 percent ready," Coa said. "That's why she broke that way. But she was sharp, she placed herself in a good position, and she helped me out big time."

Leah's Secret took up a stalking position behind the speed as Any Limit, under Cornelio Velasquez, set fractions of 23.24 seconds and 45.92 for the opening half-mile while being hounded by Slewfoundmoney. Leah's Secret was just behind them racing alongside Shining Image and Rite Moment.

Leah's Secret came outside Slewfoundmoney turning for home and the two raced evenly though the stretch before Leah's Secret edged clear late. Leah's Secret, a 5-year-old daughter of Tiger Ridge, covered the mile in 1:36.49 and returned $7.60 as the favorite.

This victory came just 25 days after Leah's Secret won the Grade 2 Chilukki Stakes at Churchill.

"I thought it was real big effort," Pletcher said. "Back-to-back graded wins like that - she's been a real quality mare for us all year."

* Earlier on the card, Justwhistledixie ($4.60) cruised to a 3 1/4-length victory under Alan Garcia in the $69,750 True Affair Stakes for juvenile fillies.