Peter Brant’s Cafe Americano was shot out of a cannon and blasted home to score in the Grade III Pucker Up, the last of four graded stakes races on the day, all of which won by Chad Brown.
The 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia D’Oro was making her fourth career start and first start since finishing sixth in the Grade I Belmont Oaks Invitational. The 3-year-old filly sat tenth through the early stages of the race, galloping along at the back of the pack following early fractions of 23.00 and 47.64 set by Sky Freak. After six furlongs, Café Americano stills had lots of ground to make up still in the tenth spot and a 3/4th-mile time in 1:11.84. In the blink of an eye, jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. and Café Americano were sprinting clear of the leaders, finishing up with a final time of 1:47.72 for the 1 1/8th mile distance and a 2 1/4th-length victory in her first Grade I triumph.
Café Americano’s win capped off what proved to be a historic day for Chad Brown, winning all four graded stakes including the Grade I Beverly D, Grade I Secretariat, and Grade I Arlington Million.
“I’m so proud of my whole team,” Brown said walking to the toast tent to cap off his day. “They all work so hard with these horses and its days like today that all that work pays off. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into this, and I’m surrounded by a lot of really talented people. Of course, it’s all up to the horses though and I’m so proud of them. They give me their all every single day and that’s why I do this job.”
Café Americano paid $7.40 to win, $4.80 to place, and $3.20 to show. Second was Princesa Carolina who paid $6.20 to win, and $3.60 to show. Third was Art of Almost who paid $3.40 to show.
Rounding out the Grade III Pucker Up were Winter Sunset, Winning Envelope, Indigo Gin, Lightscameraction, Gamblin Train, Comic Kitten, Aunt Hattie, and early pace setter Sky Freak.