03/21/2009 12:00AM

Secret Gypsy gets her first graded win

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Secret Gypsy, whose career has been slowed on several occasions because of untimely injuries, finally earned her first graded stakes win when cruising to a 1 1/4-length victory over Distorted Passion in Saturday's $150,000 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct. The Grade 2 Distaff was marred when Zada Belle suddenly went wrong while holding a short advantage midway down the backstretch and was pulled up by jockey Ramon Dominguez.

Secret Gypsy, who set a track record winning her maiden in her career debut at Saratoga in August 2007, had not started since capturing the Esplanade Stakes at Fair Grounds in impressive fashion on Dec. 20. She was entered but scratched from the Pan Zareta at Fair Grounds on Feb. 7 because of a foot and pastern injury.

Secret Gypsy, a 4-year-old daughter of Sea of Secrets, stalked the early pace of Zada Belle, then inherited the lead when that rival dropped back suddenly nearing the half-mile pole of the six-furlong Distaff. Secret Gypsy maintained a clear advantage under regular rider Robby Albarado entering the stretch and then held safe both Distorted Passion and Royale Michele while under only moderate urging near the end.

Zada Belle was vanned off after the race. Track officials reported she had suffered a right front medial sesamoid fracture and was in stable condition.

Secret Gypsy is trained by Ronny Werner for the partnership of Richland Hills Stable and John Kuehl. She completed the distance in 1:10.01 over the Aqueduct inner track and paid $3.40 as the favorite in a scratch-reduced field of five fillies and mares. The win was her fifth from nine career starts. She carried high weight of 118 pounds.

"It was fantastic to get a graded stakes win," said Werner. "We've been hitting a couple of dead spots as far as getting her running on a regular basis, so this was just super. She did break a little slow, for her, but Robby knows her well from working her in the morning and did a good job easing her up and not rushing her off her feet."