James Covello, Sheep Pond Partners and Head of Plains Partners' Beach Patrol has now won back-to-back Grade 1 races, the Arlington Million and this Saturday's Joe Hirsch Turf Classic. The five-length victory earns the 4-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders' Cup Longines Turf. Off at odds of 5-1, Beach Patrol tracked the early speed under Joel Rosario before drawing away to win easily in the stretch, besting Fanciful Angel (8-1) and Oscar Performance (7-2). Trained by Chad Brown, the colt covered 1 1/2 miles over Belmont Park's firm turf course in 2:26.29.
“This horse has really gotten some unfavorable trips early in the year,” Brown said. “He really is one of the most consistent horses I've had in training. He was very unlucky in some spots and Joel has fit him very well. He's gotten to know this horse, in particular in his last two starts. He's really found some good chemistry. He's a tricky horse to ride out of the gate. He doesn't really break well, so you have to walk that line between encouraging him the first portion of the race to get position, but then switching him off which is not easy to do.
“He's a classy horse and Joel gets along with him well. I think their relationship has a lot to do with how this horse has developed in the second half of the year. Fanciful Angel has never been at a mile and half, his form to get up for second we haven't had a lot of time with that horse, I feel like when we do we might see some more improvement with him. Money Multipler was disappointing. I think the rain earlier in the day hurt him. He really needs a firm turf to run his best, especially at Belmont when it comes up soft so we'll have to regroup with him.”
Oscar Performance broke very well and briefly held the lead, but he was quickly passed by Converge. Converge went out to nearly an eight-length lead through fractions of :23.51 and :48.23, tracked by Beach Patrol, Oscar Performance and Money Multiplier. After three-quarters in 1:13.81, Converge began to come back to the field and Beach Patrol began to wind up for his run. Beach Patrol took over nearly the head of the lane, while Money Multiplier and Oscar Performance moved along together behind him.
Beach Patrol went a bit wide around the turn, allowing Oscar Performance a brief chance to come through along the rail, but Rosario asked Beach Patrol for his best and the race was over. Beach Patrol flew down the stretch to score by five lengths, while Oscar Performance just got nosed out for second by the late-running Fanciful Angel. Sadler's Joy finished fourth.
“It was [an impressive turn of foot],” Rosario said. “He just keep moving forward, moving forward and then turning for home, I could see he wasn't going to quit on you. He gives you everything he has. When I went to let him know it's time to go and he accelerated himself. It was a really good performance.”
Bred in Kentucky by Nancy Shuford, Beach Patrol was a $250,000 weanling at the Keeneland November Sale. He took three starts to break his maiden, but took the G1 Secretariat at Arlington at 3-year-old. The horse did not win again until this year's Arlington Million, but has now put together consecutive Grade 1 victories. Overall, Beach Patrol boasts a record of 5-5-3 from 16 starts with earnings of $1.7 million.
Of Oscar Performance, trainer Brian Lynch said: “The whole concept of the race changes when you have the rabbit in there. I was happy with his performance. Unfortunately, we didn't hang on for second, but we got beat by the 1-2 finishers in the Arlington Million. It probably wasn't the ideal scenario the way the race fell into play, but it is what it is and you got to play the cards that are dealt to you. Overall I think he handled elders well, and he was just unlucky he didn't hang on for second.”
Watch the race replay here:
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