10/14/2011 3:39PM

Santa Anita: Sarah's Secret the one to beat in Ramser

Benoit & Associates
Sarah's Secret will make her first start since July 24 in Sunday's Grade 3 Harold C. Ramser at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Five races into her career, previously unbeaten Sarah’s Secret is no longer perfect. Pardon the interruption – the 4-for-5 filly had a valid excuse for the first loss of her career.

“She couldn’t breathe,” trainer Kathy Walsh said.

Sarah’s Secret won her first four starts, including the Grade 2 Honeymoon Handicap in June at Hollywood Park. She was poised for a big summer, but everything unraveled in the Grade 2 San Clemente on July 24 at Del Mar.

“She left the gate and didn’t settle at all,” Walsh said. “She threw her head up and then she displaced.”

That was the end of that. Oxygen-deprived Sarah’s Secret finished sixth.

On Sunday at Santa Anita, Sarah’s Secret can start a new win streak in the Grade 3 Harold C. Ramser for 3-year-old fillies at a mile on turf. The field of 11 includes San Clemente winner Up In Time, improving Bauble Queen, and likely pacesetter Tales in Excess.

Although it has been four months since her most recent win and three months since her most recent start, Sarah’s Secret is the horse to beat. The break between starts was not by design. Walsh entered Sarah’s Secret in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 20. This time, her feet did not cooperate.

“She had a hot foot, a real abscess,” Walsh said, explaining why Sarah’s Secret was scratched from the Oaks. “I had to give her some time off, which sometimes is for the best.”

Sarah’s Secret has been working well; Walsh expects a big effort.

“She came back real settled; I think she’ll give a good account of herself,” she said.

The comment can be interpreted as a strong endorsement from understated Walsh.

Mike Smith replaces David Flores, primarily because Sarah’s Secret was Smith’s mount to begin with. He worked her regularly before she ran, but when Sarah’s Secret made her Aug. 22, 2010, debut at Del Mar, Smith was committed to ride a race in Canada. Flores gained the mount, and Sarah’s Secret kept winning.

A daughter of Leroidesanimaux, Sarah’s Secret has won four races and $177,000 from five starts. She breaks from post 2, while her main rival is drawn in post 1. Bauble Queen has won two of five, but her career did not take off until her third career start in June.

“I pretty much throw the first two races out,” trainer Eric Kruljac said.

Runner-up after a slow start in her debut, she shin-bucked her second start. Five months later, she returned with a smashing maiden win on the main track at Hollywood. The best was yet to come.

“We always wanted to get her going long on the grass,” Kruljac said. “Grass is her thing.”

Bauble Queen stretched out and won a turf allowance at Del Mar, then finished second in a $90,000 stakes at a mile.

“She might have won with a clean break; it definitely cost us a couple lengths,” Kruljac said. The race was won in wire-to-wire fashion by Mizdirection.

Kruljac believes one mile is shorter than Bauble Queen prefers.

“She definitely wants to go farther, everybody that has been on her says so, and it kind of looks that way on her form, too,” he said.

Joe Talamo rides Bauble Queen.

Other starters include Imperialistic Diva, Celestial Kitten, Going for a Spin, Glowing Spirit, Entrustment, Rosehill Dew, and Cathy’s Crunches.