06/28/2008 12:00AM

Shorter trip perfect for Leah's Secret


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Since Leah's Secret won the Anne Arundel Stakes on Nov. 25, 2006, at Laurel Park, she hasn't been able to find the winner's circle, but jockey Rene Douglas led her there late Saturday afternoon. Getting an ideal trip under Douglas, Leah's Secret pushed past Tequilas Dayjur in the final furlong and won the $150,000 Chicago Handicap by three-quarters of a length at windy Arlington Park.

Leah's Secret went 0 for 8 in 2007, and lost her first three starts this year, but she showed positive signs finishing second here May 26 in the Arlington Matron Handicap. At nine furlongs, the Matron probably was farther than Leah's Secret's best distance, but the seven furlongs of the Chicago Handicap was right in her wheelhouse.

As Pro Pink and Featherbed went out to set fast, wind-aided fractions of 21.79 seconds for the first quarter-mile and 44.26 for the opening half, Leah's Secret raced in midpack after breaking from post 9. Douglas moved her into striking position at the half-mile pole, drafted in behind the leaders around the far turn, and came niftily out for a final run after straightening away. Three-year-old Tequilas Dayjur, who was well-bet and pressed the pace, took over at the three-sixteenths pole, and battled hard, but Leah's Secret had her measured and clearly was best.

The 3-2 favorite, Leah's Secret - trained by Todd Pletcher for WinStar Farms -- paid $5 to win, and was timed in a swift 1:22.17 for seven furlongs. Tequilas Secret finished well clear of show horse Dhanyata.

Indescribable, who had beaten Leah's Secret in the Matron, was nowhere near as effective at this shorter distance, and checked in a flat sixth.