Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Monday, September 5, 2016

| Churchill Downs Communications | 09/05/2016 #
  • Mister Marti Gras winning the 2011 Grade III Washington Park Handicap

  • Mister Marti Gras Hangs Up His Beads
  • Secret Someone Surges to Victory in Ladies Turf Stakes


Lothenbach Stable’s homebred Mister Marti Gras, winner of almost $1.2 million in career earnings, will retire from racing healthy and ready to start his second career according to trainer Chris Block. The 9-year-old gelding, who made his first start in the Chicago area at the age of two, ran his final race on Sept. 3 at Arlington International Racecourse.

“He’s [always] gone out there and given me more than 150%, except the last two starts, which tells me he’s ready to retire,” Block explained. “I knew he would tell me when he’s done. I’m proud to say to he retires extremely sound and happy. He deserves a chance at a second career.”

Bred in Kentucky by his owners, Mister Marti Gras is by multiple graded stakes winner Belong to Me out of the stakes-placed mare Miss Marta. He broke his maiden in his third start at the age of three, followed four months later by his first stakes win. As a 3-year-old he finished second in the Grade II American Derby at Arlington and the Grade III Hawthorne Derby.

At the age of four, Mister Marti Gras earned his first graded stakes victory in the Grade III Washington Park Handicap at Arlington, followed by a win at Churchill Downs in the Grade III Ack Ack Handicap. He also finished second in the Grade III Arlington Handicap and third in the Grade III Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland. In between those races he picked up wins amongst allowance company, never finishing worse than fourth in the season. He finished 2011 by completing the superfecta in the Grade I Clark Handicap, won by two-time Eclipse Champion Horse of the Year Wise Dan.

“Mister Marti Gras has been what I call the blue-collar racehorse,” Block said. “He’s been healthy his entire career, he’s never had anything wrong with him. Year in and year out he’s been very competitive at a high level on all surfaces – turf, dirt and synthetic.”

Chicago’s chestnut gelding continued to be competitive in graded stakes company in each of his seasons, placing in Grade II and Grade III races at the age of five, six, seven and eight. He finished second in the Grade III Hanshin Cup at Arlington the past three years before dwindling this year and finishing off the board. His final win came at Tampa Bay Downs on April 6.

“We’ll let him unwind in the barn, and then the plan is to find him a path to his next career. He’s got a lot of years of life left in him as an athlete, just not as a racehorse. I think he would make a great Hunter-Jumper or Dressage prospect. He has that size and presence that I think would be good for that.”

Mister Marti Gras retires after 58 races with 11 wins, 15 second-place finishes, six thirds and $1,194,027 in lifetime earnings.


Mike Stidham trainee Secret Someone captured the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes on Sept. 3 for owner and breeder Mt. Brilliant Stable. Traveling a mile on the turf, the 5-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy was piloted by Robby Albarado from last to first in spectacular fashion to win by 3¾ lengths over betting favorite Cash Control.

“She came out of the race really well,” Stidham said. “We were very pleased with the effort; it was above and beyond what we expected.”

Secret Someone began the season with a win in the Lady Canterbury Stakes at Canterbury Park in June before finishing third in the Grade III Modesty Handicap at Arlington International Racecourse. She finished a well-beaten eighth in the Grade I Beverly D. for her next start before winning at Kentucky Downs.

“We’ll nominate around,” Stidham said of his plans for the mare. “It looks like the mile distance is her sweet spot, as far as she wants to run. The [Grade I] First Lady at Keeneland [on Oct. 8] is something we would look at.”

Secret Someone is out of the Unbridled stakes-winning mare Private Gift, who herself is a half-sister to the 2000 Grade I Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Status, also a daughter of A.P. Indy. With the victory at Kentucky Downs, Secret Someone increased her lifetime earnings to $405,951 with five wins from 18 career starts.

“We’ll probably keep her in training [through the winter],” Stidham said. “Mt. Brilliant is looking forward to having her in their broodmare band. She’s Grade III placed, and they would love to get a graded win. After she accomplishes that, I think they may retire her.”