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Will's Secret Grabs Top Spot on KY Oaks Leaderboard

Will Take Charge filly won March 6 Honeybee Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park.

Will's Secret wins the Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park

Will's Secret wins the Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park

Coady Photography

Will's Secret secured a place in the starting gate for the April 30 Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) with a strong victory in the $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 6 at Oaklawn Park.

The triumph was worth 50 points towards eligibility in the Oaks, and put the Will Take Charge  filly at the top of the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard with 60 total points following her Jan. 30 Martha Washington Stakes score at Oaklawn.

A homebred campaigned by Willis Horton Racing and trained by Dallas Stewart, Will's Secret was forwardly placed after breaking well from post 2 under jockey Jon Court. She soon took the advantage over six rivals, claiming the lead from Tabor Hall after that one showed the way through an opening quarter in :24.25.

Putting her head in front as the half went in :49.70, Will's Secret carried on to a half-length advantage through three-quarters in 1:14.49, and continued to widen her lead through the stretch. She finished three-quarters of a length in front of the fast-closing Pauline's Pearl. The winning time was 1:44.61 over a fast track. Will's Secret returned $6.20 on a $2 win ticket as the 2-1 favorite.

"She broke really well today and we weren't pressured early on," Court said. "She was comfortable on the front end and able to dictate a moderate, easy pace. Therefore, I was able to have plenty of horse to finish with and when I called on her, she was full of run down the stretch. It just worked out very favorably today. I want to thank the Hortons and trainer Dallas Stewart."

Sun Path finished third and was followed by Oliviaofthedesert, Coach, Tabor Hall, and Willful Woman. Absolute Anna was scratched.

Pauline's Pearl received 20 Oaks points, Sun Path was given 10, and Oliviaofthedesert received five.

Bred in Kentucky out of the winning Giant's Causeway mare Girls Secret, Will's Secret improved her overall record to three wins and two thirds from six starts, with earnings of $343,300. She is the first foal out of her dam, who has an unraced 2-year-old colt by Will Take Charge and a Hard Spun  yearling colt. The mare was bred back to Hard Spun for 2021.

"It was a great ride. She loves that track," Stewart said. "She showed a little more versatility, that she can be on the lead and finish it off, and that's really good to have in a racehorse. I just told Jon to stay out of her mouth, let her break away from there, and get around that first turn. I think that's important at Oaklawn. You've got to get around that first turn and be in good shape. Looks like we've got that down. She just coasted home from there."

Video: Honeybee S. (G3)