12/23/2014 2:36PM

Secret Circle looms large in Midnight Lute Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Secret Circle is the class of Saturday's Grade 3 Midnight Lute Stakes at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – If only he had a fashionable pedigree, Secret Circle might be retired to stud by now. But demand for modestly bred stallions is minimal, and so Secret Circle will earn his keep on the track.

“The stallion business is tough,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “You can make more money racing than standing these days.”

Secret Circle has made plenty, more than $2.4 million, by winning 7 of 13 starts, including the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Sprint and the 2011 BC Juvenile Sprint.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 6 Secret Circle. Trainer Bob Baffert is 22-8-0-0 with a $5.31 ROI over the past five years going route to sprint on dirt in graded stakes. – Mike HoganClick for more details. Mike Hogan

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Secret Circle, by Eddington, is not done yet. He is favored Saturday at Santa Anita in the Grade 3, $100,000 Midnight Lute Stakes, race 5, named for Baffert’s two-time BC Sprint winner. The guys who owned Midnight Lute – Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman – also own Secret Circle.


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Seven horses entered the 6 1/2-furlong Midnight Lute, previously run at Hollywood Park as the Vernon Underwood. Rivals for Secret Circle include the stakes winner Seeking the Sherif, surface-switch upset candidates Bolita Boyz and Bahamian Squall, and likely pacesetter Distinctiv Passion. Heir of Storm and Appealing Tale also entered.

The horse to beat is obvious. Secret Circle, the runner-up this fall in the BC Sprint and Cigar Mile, is the class of the field with an admirable record of consistency.

“He shows up every time,” Baffert said. “Look at his form – he runs first or second every time.”

The only race in which Secret Circle finished worse than second was a third in his October comeback.


Secret Circle (Last 3 Beyers: 100-104-100)

◗ After winning seven of his first nine starts, Secret Circle has lost four straight, albeit against top company. A runner-up in February in a Grade 2 race, he finished in the money in his next three starts against Grade 1 foes.

◗ Secret Circle has sufficient speed to be forwardly placed under jockey Martin Garcia, who rode him to victory in the 2013 BC Sprint.

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Seeking the Sherif (Last 3 Beyers: 84-93-89)

◗ In nine starts since being claimed for just $12,500 by trainer Ron Ellis, Seeking the Sherif has won five races and $222,700, including a minor stakes at Los Alamitos.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 5 Seeking the Sherif. Trainer Ron Ellis is 43-14-9-3 with a $2.59 ROI over the past five years in dirt sprints at Santa Anita following a layoff of 45 days or more. – Mike Hogan Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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◗ Edwin Maldonado is the regular rider for Seeking the Sherif, who will start for the first time since Nov. 1, when he finished 11th in the BC Sprint. The gelding’s style should lead to a good trip behind likely pacesetter Distinctiv Passion.

Bolita Boyz (Last 3 Beyers: 85-65-79)

◗ The only 3-year-old in the field, Bolita Boyz is making his second start for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer after a fifth-place finish on turf.

“He’s a dirt horse,” assistant trainer Dan Ward said. “We ran him on turf because it was straight 3-year-olds.”

◗ Bolita Boyz posted a bullet six-furlong workout at Santa Anita on Dec. 19 and will be ridden again by Rafael Bejarano.

Distinctiv Passion (Last 3 Beyers: 101-89-84)

◗ Trainer Jeff Bonde seeks his third straight victory in this renamed stakes. He won the Vernon Underwood last year with Majestic Stride and in 2012 with Smiling Tiger.

◗ Mike Smith will ride Distinctiv Passion, who is expected to set the pace.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 4 Appealing Tale. Trainer Peter Miller is 19-3-2-3 with a $5.83 ROI over the past five years going turf to dirt and route to sprint. – Mike Hogan Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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Rosemarie Cola More than 1 year ago
I don't really think his bloodlines are not worth carrying on, but if he is unsound then that is a different story. (And no, I don't believe just because he is from the Mr Prospector line he must have some problem). All I know is that he always gives his best, he is never off my ticket, and I truly hope his connections don't keep him racing until its too late. I hope he gets the retirement he desires, if not a stallion then may he should be gelded and retired to a good rescue. He doesn't deserve to have a bad ending like so many others have had.
tommy More than 1 year ago
No long shot in this race will finish ahead of the favorites!! 1st place odds - 8/5 2nd place odds - 5/2 3rd place odds- 2-1
tommy More than 1 year ago
Don't bet!!! No money to be made in his race!!! 1 dollar exacta 9 dollars 1 dollar trifecta 40 dollars 10 cents super 10 dollars
Craig Kirsch More than 1 year ago
EVERY race has value if you know how to handicap and have money. Two dollar bettors who try to make 1000 on a race, okay, not here. There is a ton of money to be made on this race IF you can pick the super straight and have it 20-50 times. I assume you do not fall into that category.
tommy More than 1 year ago
I bet heavy only on long shots that will win!! I am an adviser to really rich high rollers!! I gave him a 50-1 horse and he bet 200 dollars to win!!! 10,000 dollars is good money!! I use minimum bets on open races with big odds!! Of course I don't win if a race is fixed but I try to keep my head up and bet another track!
Ang More than 1 year ago
Really rich guys don't bet on horses, they are out by the pool with really hot girls.
Westin Niles More than 1 year ago
Really rich guys get taken to the cleaners by skanks like you. They would be better off playing the horses.
tommy More than 1 year ago
Ang you may be right but at night when you are sleeping, they hot girls come to play with me and my hot muscular body using their daddies money!!
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
correct me if Im wrong but, if one were to bet 200 to win on a 50-1 shot, that horse would most likely no longer be 50-1.
tommy More than 1 year ago
Nope!! It depends on who bets the horse!! If I'm he only one who bets the horse to wins and it wins, I will take the whole pool ( 200,000 dollars for example) with only 2 dollars to win!! If it's a small track and you bet 200 to win normally the odds will drop because the pool is like 4000 but at a big track 200 to win on a million dollar pool is nothing!! It all goes by percentage of the money bet on the horse dividing it against the pool money!!
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
they should name a stakes race after bb and call it, the free for all stakes, where anything goes coming out of the gate. but it would have to be at a track outside of Cal. so the other horses would at least have a shot at winning it.
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
LOL. In that case, Thank God you're not in charge! You're too rational and not emotional enough. ;-)
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Theres nothing wrong with the horses pedigree.there are however confirmation issues. this horse has a very strange stride even if he is brilliant on the track..the problem is you know how this sometimes ends....a though solution for the owners race sparingly and hope for the best..or place another fast unsound specimen into the already saturated with the like gene pool. then again he is from the MR PROSPECTOR male line who was not the soundest horse himself. and hes from a northern dancer line mare .both his sire and dam were stakes winners. his sire was actually a very good racehorse EDDINGTON as was his sire UNBRIDLED...
Mark D More than 1 year ago
Can make more $$$ breeding than racing...Thats the problem with this sport. Imagine if Tiger Woods retired after he won his 2nd Masters.....or Lebron James quit after 2 years.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“The stallion business is tough,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “You can make more money racing than standing these days.” THAT is the best quote Roberto Bafferto has ever made.
Lenny Mamola More than 1 year ago
Circle is Gillette now should win this easy
Matthew Hood More than 1 year ago
“The stallion business is tough,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “You can make more money racing than standing these days.” Well if this is true, then why does this 6 yr old (about to be 7) have 13 career starts? Come on Booby, you know you love to keep getting daily fees on this lightly raced runner. He is pretty good for the few starts he has though. Still paying the bills, but just doesn't bode well in the breeding shed.
Brogan Kornaus More than 1 year ago
Secret Circle is a 5 year old...he'll be six next year
Mike Reinhardt More than 1 year ago
Shh, you are getting in the way of true stupidity with your facts.
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
You forgot about the horse Matthe. They're not machines. If he ran him as often as you'd like and he broke down, you and I would be screaming "why did you run him to death". Food for thought! ;-)
GM More than 1 year ago
They didn't run Secret Circle for reason and I agree with Matthew, this was a sick horse and being one of quality, they wanted him right before running him. He may have bad feet.
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
Impossible to please critics like you. As Meydan Rocks, below, notes, you'd criticize Baffert if he ran the horse more often and S.C. was injured or broke down. Look at all the criticism Lukas gets for ostensibly running his horses too often. Anyway, good luck to Secret Circle; he's always been a fave of mine. And I'm glad the economics finally favor keeping a horse racing instead of packing him off to the breeding shed after a year or two.