11/29/2008 12:00AM

Secret Getaway handles switch to mud


Secret Getaway had won stakes races on turf and on Woodbine's Polytrack this past summer, but it looks like there was a dirt horse waiting to come out.

Making his first two-turn start on dirt, Secret Getaway won the Tenacious Handicap on Saturday at Fair Grounds. The $60,000 pot couldn't match the six-figure purses Secret Getaway took down in Canada, but it had to give his connections hope that Secret Getaway, who is about to turn 4, could be competitive in richer races here later this season.

"He's been working good on dirt, and we felt pretty positive, but then with the slop, you never know," said winning trainer Mike Stidham.

Indeed, two days of rain had turned the Fair Grounds track mighty messy, and that could have played against favored Mambo in Seattle, who had not appeared entirely comfortable over wet going in New York a couple months ago. Mambo in Seattle, racing well behind Stonehouse's 48.20-second half-mile pace, rallied in the final quarter-mile, but came nowhere near the lead. He finished a well-beaten third behind Secret Getaway, who won by 2 3/4 lengths over pace-pressing Fair Grounds-lover Good and Lucky.

Secret Getaway ($9.20) tracked the speed, pulling jockey James Graham toward the front around the far turn of the 1 1/16-mile race. By the time the horses straightened away in the stretch, Secret Getaway had opened up, and he finished his race off strongly, timed in 1:45.06.