Trainer Chad Brown enjoyed a remarkable day of racing on Saturday at Arlington Park, sweeping the final four races on the card, including Grade 1 scores in the Arlington Million, Beverly D. and Secretariat as well as a win in the Grade 3 Pucker Up, with Bricks and Mortar, Sistercharlie, Valid Point, and Cafe Americano respectively.
Brown said the impressive sweep is a moment he'll cherish.
“It was a great moment. My oldest daughter Ava came with me yesterday, so it was a great day for us and I'm so happy she was able to be a part of an historic day,” said Brown. “There's a sense of relief, because me and my team put in a lot of time – months – preparing for it, and I'm just so proud of everyone on my team, and of course the horses, for how well it was executed.”
Peter Brant's Sistercharlie kicked off the successful string of results with a rousing three-length score in the Grade 1 Beverly D. under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. Racing near the back of the seven-horse field, Sistercharlie rallied three-wide down the lane overtaking pacesetter, and stablemate Thais under Irad Ortiz, Jr., covering 1 3/16-miles on firm turf in 1:52.43. The result garnered a career-best 105 Beyer Speed Figure.
The 5-year-old Sistercharlie, last year's Eclipse Award winner as Champion Turf Female, now boasts a record of nine wins and three seconds from thirteen starts.
The Beverly D. offered a 'Win and You're In' berth to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, a race in which Sistercharlie is the defending champion.
“Johnny knows Sistercharlie so well,” said Brown. “She got a nice, clean trip and Johnny timed it perfect once again. She delivered.”
The lightly-raced Valid Point, owned by e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Michael Ryan, earned his first Grade 1 win with a last-to-first one-length score in the one-mile Secretariat for 3-year-olds, besting Aidan O'Brien's Group 2-winner Van Beethoven. With Hall of Famer Javier Castellano up, Valid Point rallied four-wide down the lane drawing clear of The Last Zip while fending off the late bid of Van Beethoven. Valid Point matched his career-best 90 Beyer with the win while remaining perfect through three starts.
Valid Point entered the Secretariat off a well-rated optional-claiming score and Brown said he was impressed with the Scat Daddy colt's first stakes performance.
“He's lightly raced and never in a stake. To jump him into a Grade 1 was a lot to ask, but he delivered,” said Brown. “I'm just so proud of his effort. He's an exciting horse moving forward.”
Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence's Bricks and Mortar is perfect through six starts since returning to the races in December 2018 at Gulfstream Park.
The 5-year-old son of Giant's Causeway, a 10-time winner from 12 starts with more than $4.8 million in purse earnings, was sent to post as the prohibitive favorite in the Grade 1 Arlington Million under Ortiz, Jr. Settled in sixth position early in the 10-furlong turf test, Bricks and Mortar rallied into contention three wide and overtook pacesetter Bandua, while digging in gamely to fend off Magic Wand for a three-quarter length win that earned a 103 Beyer.
“He's had a remarkable year. Flawless,” said Brown. “He's a very rare horse and we're lucky to have him. He's had an outstanding career.”
The victory in the “Win and You're In” event earned Bricks and Mortar a spot in the Breeders' Cup Turf, a 12-furlong turf challenge at Santa Anita Park.
Brown said he is not sure at this point if Bricks and Mortar will tackle the Breeders' Cup Turf.
“I have to think about that. I'm not sure which direction we're going to go with him distance wise. We'll get him back home and evaluate him and go from there,” said Brown.
In the Arlington nitecap, Brant's Cafe Americano rallied from 10th, some seven lengths off the pace, to score a going away 2 1/4-length score in the Grade 3 Pucker Up at nine furlongs on the turf. The 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro and Canadian champion Roxy Gap earned a career-best 88 Beyer, while securing her first stakes win.
Cafe Americano endured a rough trip in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational on July 6 when sixth, and Brown said the filly showed good determination to overcome the outside post in an 11-horse field on Saturday.
“She's lightly raced and we threw her into the deep end of the pool a little bit in the Belmont Oaks. It didn't work out, so we regrouped into this race with a little distance cutback to a mile and an eighth,” said Brown. “She had a difficult post and was out of position early, but she came with a really strong kick down the lane. I'm proud of her. She's another exciting horse moving forward with a big career ahead of her.”
On Saturday morning at Saratoga, Brown's Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers contenders Highest Honors and Looking At Bikinis were on the work tab.
Long Lake Stable, Madaket Stables, Thomas Coleman and Doheny Racing Stable's Looking At Bikinis won his first two starts impressively at Belmont Park earning a 95 Beyer in an optional-claiming mile score over Not That Brady in June. Last out, sent to post as the even-money favorite in the nine-furlong Curlin over a muddy Saratoga main, Looking At Bikinis set the early pace but faded to third as Highest Honors rallied from last-of-six for a 1 1/2-length score.
Highest Honors, a Tapit grey owned and bred by W.S. Farish, earned a 94 Beyer for the Curlin win after a promising maiden victory at Belmont on June 1.
Looking At Bikinis worked four furlongs in 48.85 seconds on Saturday morning on the Saratoga main track, while Highest Honors, a half-brother to multiple Grade 1-winner Diamondrella, went a half-mile in 49.98.
Brown said both horses worked well in preparation for the Travers.
“It was just a maintenance work and he galloped out very strong,” said Brown regarding Highest Honors. “I'm happy with how both horses are moving.”
The three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer said a muddy track may have been Looking At Bikinis undoing last out.
“Going into that race, I thought the distance would be his friend,” said Brown. “I guess he didn't fire. The track was really wet and he was on a bad rail that day, so it's hard to evaluate him. I'll see how he works next week before making a decision on that horse.”
Brant's Dunbar Road, a leading contender for Saturday's Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.60 on Saturday. The Quality Road bay scored a 2 1/2-length win in the Grade 2 Mother Goose last out on June 29 at Belmont Park and will try 10 furlongs for the first time in the Alabama.
“She's doing fine and is on target for the Alabama. I couldn't be happier with her,” said Brown. “She's training as good now as she has all year.”
Three Chimneys homebred Guarana, undefeated in three starts, was a one-length winner of the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks last out when stretched to nine furlongs for the first time.
Brown said Guarana is on target to turn back in distance to 1 1/16-miles for the Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion on September 21 at Parx, and a possible re-match with Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress, who she defeated in the Grade 1 Acorn by a widening six lengths.
Guarana breezed five furlongs on the Saratoga main on Sunday in company with 5-year-old Grade 1-winner Wow Cat, with both covering the distance in 1:01.88.
“They both worked great. Guarana is pointed to the Cotillion,” said Brown.
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