Secret Circle’s record is low mileage and high money. The five-year-old horse is seeking his third Breeders’ Cup victory after taking the 2011 Juvenile Sprint and the 2013 Sprint.
He has raced a mere 11 times but his bankroll is nearly $2-million. His glitzy resume is accentuated with three seconds and one third for a perfect on-the-board slate. Secret Circle first showcased his speed in his career debut as a two-year-old when he sailed to a 7 ¼-length score at Del Mar. He closed that season by winning the Juvenile Sprint for his third straight triumph.
His three-year-old schedule was marked for Kentucky Derby prep races and Secret Circle obliged by winning or finishing second in four graded events. Instead, trainer Bob Baffert ran him in the Arkansas Derby, where Secret Circle injured his sesamoid, yet still finished second to stablemate Bodemeister, who went on to get the headlines during the Triple Crown races. Secret Circle remained on the sidelines for a year and a half, and resurfaced at age four late in the season. He won an allowance prep for his comeback, then took the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. At the time Baffert admitted that he had aimed for the 2012 Sprint with him, but another setback had prevented it, so for him to come back to win after such a long layoff really impressed him.
Baffert has given him a light campaign this year, too. He just missed by a neck in the Palos Verdes Handicap in February then was off for eight months. He was slated for the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park in April, but acted up loading onto the plane and was tranquilized, knocking him out of eligibility for the race. Owned by Karl Watson, Paul Weitman, and Mike Pegram, the same team who won two Sprints with Midnight Lute and Baffert, Secret Circle has been aiming to repeat that feat. He was ready to return in August at Del Mar, but Baffert felt a big horse like him would be harder to keep fit over several months, and decided to wait for the fall to bring him back to the races.
Baffert was thrilled to see him finish third in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes (formerly Ancient Title) in his comeback on October 4, Secret Circle’s first time worse than second in his entire career. The son of Eddington lost by less than two lengths to one of the best sprinters in the world, Rich Tapestry. Secret Circle got a lot out of the race and is now ready for the Breeders’ Cup.