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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL – Secret Message finished strong as she saved ground and flew into the stretch to win Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Pucker Up Stakes at Arlington Park. This was the first stakes win for the three-year-old filly who brought her career record to 3 wins in 7 starts.
Beyond Blame, broke well from the outside and went straight to the front with In the Mood close by on her inside. In the Mood eventually took sole control of the lead while the favorite, Beyond Blame, sat just off the pace with Cosmic Burst and A. A. Azula’s Arch close behind. The fractions came in at :23.76, :48.54, and 1:13.22. Into the second turn In the Mood began to slow and Madame Milan took a chance for the lead and she pulled even with the leaders. With the leaders faltering in the front, it was Pamina that got the best jump into the stretch as she exploded to the lead but she couldn’t hold off Secret Message who got up to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Pamina finished a comfortable second followed by Princess Warrior and Dark Artist.
“Last time she broke so bad and got beat by two lengths,” jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. said. “She came from way back and we didn’t want to change anything, we just wanted to break well. She broke well and then I was patient. We let her relax and finish and she was great.”
“We really took our time after her last race at Churchill,” trainer Graham Motion said. “I think she’s going to get better and better. I think she loved the distance today and I think there’s room for improvement.”
Secret Message returned $14.40 to win, $6.20 to place, and $4.60 to show. Paimina brought back $6.80 to place and $5.00 to show, while Princess Warrior paid $8.40 to show.
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