04/22/2017 2:36PM

Secretary At War outlasts Frostmourne in Woodhaven


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Secretary At War showed grace under fire as he repelled a serious attack from the stakes-winning Frostmourne to win Saturday’s $100,000 Woodhaven Stakes by a half-length at showery Aqueduct.

Frostmourne, who twice drew alongside of Secretary At War, had to settle for second, 4 1/2 lengths in front of Bird’s Eye View. Shamsaan and Royal by Nature completed the order of finish.

Secretary At War won for the second time in four starts this year. Frostmourne was making his first start since he captured the Awad Stakes at Aqueduct last Oct. 29 at Belmont Park.

“The other guy probably needed the race, our horse might have been a little sharper, but still he fought,” winning trainer Jimmy Jerkens said. “I thought he got a head on him and I thought he came back on.”

Jerkens had expressed concern earlier this week about Secretary At War being antsy in the gate. Secretary At War on Saturday was very professional, broke sharply and easily made the lead under jockey Junior Alvarado. He maintained a length to a 1 1/2-length advantage through a quarter in 24.08 seconds, a half-mile in 48.50 and six furlongs in 1:11.95.

Around the turn, Frostmourne edged up alongside Secretary At War, who tried to spurt away from Frostmourne in upper stretch.

Frostmourne made another run at Secretary At War in midstretch, but Secretary At War turned him aside again.

Secretary At War, a son of War Front owned and bred by Joe Allen, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.37 over a turf course labeled firm; he returned $5.60 as the second choice.

Alvarado said he knew he had plenty of horse left when Frostmourne, under Irad Ortiz Jr., came to him.

“I didn’t know much horse Irad had left,” Alvarado said. “I thought for a second maybe he got a head in front of me. I put the horse right next to the other horse, he fought back and at the end he was going away again. Very nice, strong effort.”

Ortiz said aside from the layoff, he had no excuse.

“Just got beat, he run a good race,” Ortiz said. “He came back from a layoff, maybe next time he’ll be better.”

Next time could be the Grade 3, $200,000 Pennine Ridge going 1 1/8 miles at Belmont Park, where these two could possibly meet again.