04/13/2013 6:52PM

Oaklawn Handicap: Cyber Secret rolls; Fort Larned fifth as favorite

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Tom Keyser
Cyber Secret, under Robby Albarado, dominates the Oaklawn Handicap by 5 3/4 lengths.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Cyber Secret gave his owner, Charles Cella, one of the biggest thrills of his 55 years in racing when he ran down pacesetter Taptowne and then pulled clear by 5 3/4 lengths in the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap on Saturday. Cyber Secret won before an ontrack crowd of 66,158, on what was the final card of the meet at Oaklawn.

Fort Larned finished fifth as the 1-2 favorite in the Oaklawn Handicap, his second start since winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic last November. Trainer Ian Wilkes said he had no excuses for the defeat, and said the horse scoped clean following the race Saturday. 

“Maybe he just didn’t fire today. Sometimes those things happen,” said Wilkes.

Fort Larned is to ship Sunday to Churchill Downs and could target the Alysheba, said Wilkes.

Cyber Secret ($15), meanwhile, won his fourth straight race in the Oaklawn. He raced in fourth early under jockey Robby Albarado, as Taptowne took the field through fractions of 22.95 seconds for the opening quarter, 46.56 for the half-mile, and 1:10.97. Cyber Secret went after Taptowne in the stretch, forged his way past him, and  then pulled clear to cover 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:49.67.

The win was one of the biggest in Cella’s racing career. The 76-year-old is the longtime president of Oaklawn and he raced champion Northern Spur. 

“There are a lot of emotions in it,” Cella said. “Certainly it’s one of the top wins that I’ve ever had. We’re talking about racing that goes back in my life for about 55 years, so, that speaks for itself. It’s a great, great thrill.”

Lynn Whiting trains Cyber Secret, a horse Cella purchased privately a few years ago. 

“Whiting and I, we came up about the same time,” Cella said. “We’re very close in age, and I talked to him a couple years ago, and I said, ‘Look, let’s you and I develop a partnership. We’re both getting old. Our shadows are shrinking. Let’s see if we can’t put a streak together.’ ”

Cyber Secret will head to Churchill Downs, with his next start to be determined, said Cella.

“He’ll tell us where he wants to go,” Cella said. “But we’re ready for all comers.” 

Sabercat finished third, a half-length clear of fourth-place finisher Optimizer. Win Willy was sixth, followed by Atigun, Alternation, Unstoppable U, and Golden Ron.

The Oaklawn Handicap was one of four major stakes that closed out the annual Racing Festival of the South. The program was led by the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby won by Overanalyze.