Secret Heart, dam of the 2010 Gr.1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Pluck for Team Valor International, died at the weekend at Denali Stud in Paris, Kentucky.  She was found dead in her stall on Saturday morning and her cause of death has not been determined.

The 15-year-old daughter of Fort Wood out of Secret Pact (Bush Telegraph) was in foal to Point Of Entry and she leaves behind a yearling Kitten’s Joy colt, and a Medaglia d’Oro colt born this year

“She was the ideal mare,” said Team Valor CEO Barry Irwin, who imported Secret Heart from her native South Africa in 2004 and considered her to have the best pedigree in the stable’s band of 28 broodmares spread among the US, Ireland and South Africa. “She had speed, she had size, her pedigree improved every year and her first foal was sensational. This is a hard one to swallow.”

Secret Heart was a stakes winner in her native South Africa and was placed in four Gr.1 races, including two Classics (the South African Fillies Guineas Gr.1 and Cape Times Fillies Guineas Gr.1). She concluded her racing career in the U.S. after Team Valor imported her in 2004.  She was placed twice in the US and then was retired and bred to More Than Ready in the mating that produced Pluck. The nearly black colt captured the Gr.3 Summer Stakes at Woodbine before rallying from last to score comfortably from the outside post in the Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs after stumbling at the start and having to swerve to avoid a fallen rival at the first turn. Pluck now stands for Vinery in Australia.

For Team Valor, Secret Heart also produced the Gr.3- placed filly Three Hearts, who is still racing, and the unraced Kitten’s Joy mare Gift Of Life, who is in the broodmare band and is carrying her first foal, by Hat Trick.  Pluck’s 2-year-old full brother sold for $210,785 at the Tattersalls Craven breeze-up sale at Newmarket in April.