ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL – The perfect foam topping to trainer Chad Brown’s Saturday at Arlington Park came when his pupil Cafe Americano nearly went last-to-first in the stretch to dominate the $100,000 Pucker Up Stakes (G3).
Breaking from the far outside post 11 as the 5/2 favorite under Irad Ortiz, Jr., Cafe Americano took back and watched as Sky Freak posted quick opening fractions of :23.00, :47.64, and 1:11.84. At the 1/4 pole, Cafe Americano received her cue, and she responded by circling the field with gusto.
At the top of the stretch, Winter Sunset held a momentary lead, but it soon disappeared as Cafe Americano glided right alongside and past her. Taking complete control near the 1/16 pole, the Peter Brant-owned filly flew home in a final time of 1:47.72 for the 1 1/8-mile event over the firm turf course.
Princesa Carolina fought hard with Art of Almost in deep stretch to defeat that foe for second by a head. Winter Sunset necked out Winning Envelope for fourth, with Indigo Gin a 1/2-length behind them. Seventh went to Lightscameraaction, with Gamblin Train, Comic Kitten, Aunt Hattie, and an empty Sky Freak completing the order of finish.
Mercila was scratched.
Cafe Americano’s win was her third in four career starts, with her lone loss a sixth-place finish last time out in the Belmont Oaks (G1). The 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, purchased for $625,000 as a yearling, has now amassed $149,800 in earnings.
Cafe Americano returned $7.40 to win, $4.80 to place, and $3.20 to show. Princesa Carolina brought back $6.20 to place and $3.60 to show, while Art of Almost paid $3.40 to show.