By most accounts the favorite in the feature race Monday was the winner of the $50,000 Honor the Hero Turf Express even before he took the track. An odds-on choice to beat a field of six opponents, the six-year-old Lookinforthesecret is no longer the secret force he is in some jurisdictions, as a 6-1 choice for example in the $214,000 Turf Sprint Handicap at Calder Race Course in late April, a race he led from gate to wire to pad his lifetime earnings at that point to $512,918. Lookinforthesecret is a son of Cimarron Secret by Tejano from the Vicksburg mare Looking Better. Trainer Jamie Ness claimed him for $12,500 for owner Balkrisna Sukharan, of Blaine, MN.
As the field lined up for Monday’s Honor the Hero sprint on the grass, Lookinforthesecret had paid for his original purchase tab and then some. Under Ness’s direction, the horse had banked $458,940, winning 12 times and finishing second five other times from 18 starts. Add another $30,000 to the savings account after Monday’s win. Never mind that Lookinforthesecret was a gate to wire winner once again and was never seriously challenged the entire five furlongs. Ness’s nerves were bouncing the entire way. “Whew!,” he said, wiping his forehead with his arm.. “I’d much rather be 10-1 at Calder than the favorite anytime.”
Despite the way this race sized up on paper – a colt running against weanlings comes to mind – Ness wasn’t making any assumptions. He evened summoned rider Daniel Centeno from Monmouth Park, who was on Lookinforthesecret’s back for 11 races, winning nine of them. For the record, Lookinforthesecret finished two lengths in front of Pimm’s O’Clock and 5 ½ in front of the third-place finisher, Minnesota-bred Joni’s Justice.
Sukharan didn’t share any of Ness’s anxiety heading into or during the race. Was he concerned at any point along the five furlongs? “No, no,” he said. “This is the horse’s perfect distance and on the turf. He really likes this.” Sukharan is a man who loves racing and loves his horses. Offered $250,000 for the horse the same day he claimed him for $12,500, he said no. Offered $450,000 for another up-and-comer named Repenting, claimed by Ness for $25,000, he said no.
“This is my dream,” Sukharan explained. “I told Jamie I’m not going to sell them.” Baring the unforeseen, there are still better things to come for Lookinforthesecret. He suffered from some breathing problems at one point but has recovered steadily. “He’s getting stronger and stronger and has no problems,” said Centeno.
CHAPEL OPENING DELAYED
Construction issues have delayed the much-anticipated grand opening of the Dean Kutz Memorial Chapel. Originally scheduled for June 2, the formal dedication has been postponed until the night of July 28 when the format originally scheduled for June 2 will take place. Chaplain Tommy Bartram said he still hopes to hold the weekly prayer service in the chapel on Monday night, June 2. “We were behind the eight-ball trying to get things ready on time. It was our fault,” said Bartram.
The interior of the building is unfinished at this point and there are some issues with the floor as well. Bartram said that there are still legal forms required by the City of Shakopee that need to be filed as well. Several events are planned on Saturday and Sunday immediately before the rescheduled grand opening. Hall of Fame rider Pat Day has adjusted his plans and will be at Canterbury for all three days of the dedication.
A dinner banquet with Day in attendance will be held in the grandstand on Saturday the 26th of July. Tickets are $50 apiece and will benefit the new chapel, as will silent and live auctions planned over the weekend. Day will be available throughout the weekend to sign autographs. Also in attendance will be Dr. Enrique Torres, head of the Racetrack Chaplains of America and Waverly Parsons, president of the organization.