Peter Miller hasn't had Monster Bea for long, but he's already reaped the rewards.
Prepared for the race by trainer Mark Casse at Churchill Downs for owner Gary Barber, in his first start for Miller, Monster Bea raced in seventh through six furlongs, came out of the final turn six wide, and rallied in the stretch under Gary Stevens to win by a convincing 2 1/4 lengths at odds of 12-1.
Stevens rode Monster Bea to victory in his last start as well, in a June 10 allowance race at Churchill for Casse.
"I saw he was 12-1, but in my eyes he was 5-2 walking in the paddock," Stevens said. "He ran like a 6-5 shot."
Miller said after the race that Monster Bea will point to the rest of the 3-year-old turf races on the Del Mar schedule, the Aug. 6 La Jolla (gr. IIIT) and the Sept. 4 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT).
"He's been here a week and I basically babysat the horse," Miller said. "All the credit goes to Mark Casse and his crew."
Imperious One and Mr. Roary dueled on the front end, setting fractions of :22.85, :46.34, and 1:11.77 through six furlongs. Favored Moonlight Drive, off at 2-1, took command in the stretch, but could not hold off the charging winner and finished second, 1 1/4 lengths clear of Path of David. Grade III winner Dressed in Hermes completed the superfecta. The final time for the mile grass test was 1:35.93 on firm ground.
"He ran good," said Moonlight Drive's jockey, Rafael Bejarano. "The winner pushed me out, but (Monster Bea) was much the best today. He just was."
The winner paid $27.20, $9.80, and $5.60 across the board. Moonlight Drive brought $4.20 and $3.20, and Path of David delivered $6.60.
Bred in Kentucky, out of the Elusive Quality mare Aunt Bea, Monster Bea has a 3-1-1 record from 10 starts and earnings of $179,637.