09/09/2010 3:02PM

Secret Gypsy heads into Endine better than ever

Tom Keyser
Secret Gypsy takes the Honorable Miss on Aug. 8 at Saratoga.

Secret Gypsy’s racing career looked like it might be over 13 months ago, when she returned from a 10th-place finish in a turf sprint at Saratoga with injuries to both knees and one ankle. Surgery was performed on all three joints, and she was given plenty of time to rehab in a hyperbaric chamber and on a water treadmill.

Not only has Secret Gypsy made it back to the races this year, she appears better than ever after winning last month’s Grade 2 Honorable Miss at Saratoga.

A 5-year-old, Secret Gypsy will seek her third consecutive stakes victory during her comeback in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Endine Stakes at Delaware Park.

Run at six furlongs, the Endine goes as the ninth race and is the feature on a special 13-race Owners Day program that includes a pair of $75,000 stakes restricted to horses who have made at least one non-stakes start locally this year.

Secret Gypsy’s best races have come on Saratoga’s main track, where she is 3 for 3, including a then-track record of 1:03.26 for 5 1/2 furlongs in her career debut as a 2-year-old in 2007. She has never raced at Delaware but has had two works there in preparation for the Endine, including a bullet half-mile breeze in 48.20 seconds Aug. 24.

Trainer Ronny Werner said he is impressed with how Secret Gypsy has regained her top form following her surgeries.

“She has done well, and we have been fortunate that she has made it back both mentally and physically,” Werner said. “She is a warrior, and I have a ton of respect of her, and she sure has been running good for us.”

In her most recent outing, Secret Gypsy posted a two-length score in the six-furlong Honorable Miss on Aug. 8, earning a 98 Beyer Speed Figure.

“We were really pleased with her effort,” Werner said. “She took it to the next level and really stepped up her game, but we are looking forward, and hopefully, we will keep her on this pattern.”

Previously, Secret Gypsy cruised to a 4 3/4-length win in the six-furlong, $100,000 Saylorville Stakes at Prairie Meadows on June 25, earning a 101 Beyer, her best since she got a 103 for winning an allowance race at Churchill Downs in the fall of 2008. Overall, Secret Gypsy has won 7 of 16 and $506,926.

Her toughest rival among seven female sprinters is the Todd Pletcher-trained Hour Glass, winner of the Grade 2 Vagrancy Handicap on May 29 and runner-up to Secret Gypsy in the Honorable Miss. Hour Glass made the first two starts of her career at Delaware, winning a maiden race and finishing a half-length behind the winner in a first-level allowance.

◗ Bambera, a nine-time Group 1 winner in her native Venezuela, will be seeking her first victory in the United States in the George Rosenberger Memorial (race 11), a 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares.

Last year, Bambera won 13 of 14 starts, including the triple crown for fillies in Venezuela and two of the three races that make up the Venezuelan triple crown for males. She was injured in her American debut at Gulfstream Park in March and did not resurface until August, when she missed by a nose in a $65,000 optional claimer at Delaware.

“She really needed her last race,” trainer Pablo Andrade said. “We are expecting her to run really well this Saturday.”

Her competition in a full field of 14, plus one also-eligible, includes Ainamaa, a close third in the Grade 3 Robert Dick Memorial in July , and Miss Blakely, whose 5-for-13 record on turf includes a nose victory in her lone start over Delaware’s grass course.

◗ Edgewater and Alma d’Oro, separated by three-quarters of a length as the second- and third-place finishers in the July 17 R.R.M. Carpenter Memorial, are rematched in the Governor’s Day (race 3) at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

Edgewater, who won his first start at Delaware in June, has been off since the Carpenter. Alma d’Oro subsequently was within a length of the lead at the stretch call of the West Virginia Governor’s at Mountaineer before fading late to fourth.

The field also includes two horses with nearly identical local records. Not Abroad has three wins and three seconds in eight starts on Delaware’s main track. In 10 local starts, Doc’s Friend has three wins and three seconds.