Prior to Aug. 12, the best race of Beach Patrol's life came over the turf at Arlington International Racecourse. On Saturday evening, the son of Lemon Drop Kid proved that outing was not only no fluke, but one he could further raise the bar on.
Nearly a year to the day after he earned his first grade 1 score in the Secretariat Stakes (G1T), Chad Brown trainee Beach Patrol duplicated that form over a salty international field when he fought past favored Deauville in the stretch and held strong against longshot Fanciful Angel late to win the Arlington Million XXXV Stakes (G1T) by half-length.
The win was the first for the 4-year-old colt since his breakout victory 12 months earlier and ended a streak of six losses, in which he ran admirably enough to keep faith that another big day was on tap. During that dry spell he never finished worse than fourth and came to Arlington off a third-place effort in the July 1 United Nations Stakes (G1T). Had it not been for fellow Arlington Million entrant Divisidero, Beach Patrol would have already halted his losing skid in the May 6 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes (G1T) at Churchill Downs, as he fell just a half-length short of that rival in a runner-up effort.
He also added another feather in the cap of his Eclipse Award-winning trainer, who earlier on the card sent out Dacita to win the Beverly D. Stakes (G1T).
Owned by James Covello, Head of Plains Partners, and Sheep Pond Partners—the latter of which also co-owns Dacita—Beach Patrol got himself prominently placed early in the 1 1/4-mile test, settled just off the hip of longshot pacesetter Oak Brook through a leisurely procession of :24.45 and :49.53 for the first half-mile.
"They told me I had to get him out of the gate, and get into a good position and let him find himself," said winning jockey Joel Rosario. "It took a little bit of time, but he really found his way after."
Oak Brook was still clinging to his lead at the quarter pole before the reality of his 56-1 odds and the power of Rosario's mount set in full force. Grade 1 winner Deauville, who was stalking the top two while he saved ground down the backstretch, shot up the rail and took a short lead in the final furlong, but Beach Patrol unearthed another gear under strong hand urging from Rosario and edged clear to finish off the distance 2:02.39.
"This was the spot and the race we've been waiting for a year," said co-owner Sol Kumin of Sheep Pond Partners. "He loves it here (and) Joel gave us a great ride. Obviously Chad and his team had the horse ready and we’re super happy.
"It’s funny. I’ve seen the trophy and Chad always talked about (how) this is the best trophy in horse racing. It's always been on the bucket list and I’m super fortunate to be here with my kids and dad. It doesn't get much better than this."
Sent off at 9-2 Beach Patrol paid $11.80, $6, and $4 across the board.
Fanciful Angel made a huge run to get second, with Deauville third as the 9-5 favorite and Enterprising fourth. Grade 1 winner Ascend checked in fifth, while Oak Brook faded to sixth in the 12-horse field, ahead of Divisidero, Oscar Nominated, and Kasaqui. Mekhtaal and Ghost Hunter were next, while sentimental favorite and 2015 Arlington Million winner The Pizza Man came in last.
"He had a good trip. He was comfortable," said Irad Ortiz Jr., jockey of The Pizza Man. "You can’t fight him, you have to let him be him, and when I asked him, he made a little run but was just a little flat."
Bred in Kentucky by Nancy Shuford, Beach Patrol broke his maiden last year on the Santa Anita Park turf third time out and has run exclusively in graded company since he took an allowance race in April of 2016. He improved his record to four wins from 15 starts with $1,456,945 in earnings. He was purchased by Ben Glass, agent, for $250,000 out of the 2013 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.
Beach Patrol is out of the Quiet American mare Bashful Bertie.