10/05/2007 11:00PM

Lookinforthesecret comes off narrow loss

EmailSTICKNEY, Ill. - Lookinforthesecret never even knew what hit him.

In a high-end turf-sprint allowance race Sept. 16 at Arlington, Lookinforthesecret was in the process of doing what he mostly has done since trainer Jamie Ness and owner Balkrisna Sukharan claimed him this past winter at Tampa Bay Downs - win. Lookinforthesecret, haltered for just $12,500, has seven victories in 2007, and deep in the stretch that mid-September day, win No. 8 seemed well within range until the classy grass horse Fort Prado let fly with a last-minute burst, beating Lookinforthesecret by a neck.

But Fort Prado is headed out of town for his next start, making Lookinforthesecret the horse to beat on Monday in the featured fifth race here at Hawthorne. The race is a $45,000 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint dubbed the Don Ciccio, and it came up a decent affair for the class level. Also entered was Prosico, who had won going short on turf Sept. 5 at Arlington before finishing third behind Fort Prado and Lookinforthesecret last time out.

Lookinforthesecret is a 5-year-old horse, but with a pedigree featuring the $2,500 stud Cimarron Secret on the top, and the modest stallion Vicksburg on the bottom, Lookinforthesecret probably does not have a career at stud. Not that he needs a career outside of racing, which Lookinforthesecret apparently loves. He's won 11 of his 25 starts, and finished third or better in 18 of them, going 4-3-1 from his 11 grass races.

Grass, Ness believes, is Lookinforthesecret's better surface, and he appears ideally drawn outside of six rivals on Monday. Lookinforasecret will show speed under Israel Ocampo, but if another front-runner like Lite Brigade is dead set on making the lead, Lookinforasecret can stalk while racing in the clear.

Prosico appeared poised to make a run at the top of the stretch last out, but couldn't close the gap in deep stretch; Lookinforthesecret may just be better on turf. Smoke Smoke Smoke once looked quite promising as a one-turn grass horse, but he has failed to win a race since 2005. Mighty Rule, an Illinois-bred, always is close, and has been part of the exacta in six of his seven starts this year, but his best chance could come if Monday's race is rained from turf onto dirt.