Valid Point followed stablemate Sistercharlie into the Arlington winner’s circle on Saturday, giving trainer Chad Brown a second Grade 1 score on the afternoon in the $500,000 Secretariat (G1).
Shortened to one mile this year after being run at 1 1/4 miles for decades, the new distance of the Secretariat hit Valid Point between the eyes as the three-year-old remains unbeaten from three starts, all at one mile, for owners e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Michael Ryan.
Last in the field of nine around the first turn, Valid Point settled well for Javier Castellano, who kept the colt outside in the run up the backstretch. Improving position on the far turn, Valid Point entered the stretch wide and in the clear. With a solid kick, he wore down long-time leader The Last Zip and easily held off a late run from longshot European invader Van Beethoven to win by one length.
The order of finish was rounded out by Crafty Daddy, Never No More, 2-1 favorite Fog of War, Faraway Kitten, Ry’s the Guy, and Clint Maroon.
“I really like the way he felt today,” Castellano said. “I let the horse be himself and relax going into the first turn and get into a nice rhythm. The way he finished was impressive to me. When I picked him up he responded right away and I think he’s going to be a really nice horse.”
Valid Point paid $7.20 as the 5-2 second choice after covering the distance on firm turf in 1:35.50. Van Beethoven and The Last Zip, both of whom left the gate at odds of 28-1, were separated by three-quarters of a length finishing second and third, respectively.
Winner on debut by one length at Gulfstream Park on February 10, Valid Point reappeared in a June 7 allowance at Belmont and won by 3 1/2 lengths. He’s now earned $367,400.
Bred in Kentucky by Westwind Farms and a $140,000 Keeneland September yearling, Valid Point is by Scat Daddy and out of Goldbud, a Buddha half-sister to Italian highweight Sweet Gold and Grade 1 winner Santa Teresita.
Cafe Americano was denied a true run in last month’s Belmont Oaks (G1) when interfered with by a stablemate down the backside, but enjoyed clear sailing in the $100,000 Pucker Up (G3) to give Brown a sweep of all four graded stakes at Arlington on Saturday.
Trailing all but one through six furlongs, Cafe Americano made an impressive outside rally under Irad Ortiz Jr. and won impressively by 2 1/4 lengths Princess Carolina, who edged Art of Almost by a head for the place.
The 5-2 favorite, Cafe Americano paid $7.40 after completing 1 1/8 miles on the turf in 1:47.42.
Owned by Peter Brant, Cafe Americano won on debut at Gulfstream and then an allowance at Belmont prior to her sixth-place effort in the Belmont Oaks. She’s now earned $149,800.
By Medaglia d’Oro, she was produced by the Canadian champion Roxy Gap, by Indian Charlie. Bred in Kentucky by Blue Heaven Farm, she was a $625,000 Keeneland September yearling.