Consider Brian Beach the “other man” in the male-versus-female jockey match
races that featured Julie Krone-Pat Valenzuela in 2003 and will spotlight
Chantal Sutherland and Mike Smith a week from today.
Beach was the agent for Krone in 2003. He represents Sutherland now. And
he’s a major thread connecting the two not-just-for-fun, wagering events – the
“Battle of the Sexes” and “Battle of the Exes.”
“Just coincidence,” Beach says of becoming the “Ladies Man” of jockey
agents. “But the experience from what I went through with Julie, I can now
apply to Chantal. I’ve had a lot of the same conversations with trainers
(concerning) Chantal that I did with Julie.”
Beach started handling the book of Sutherland in January, and since then
some good things have happened. In Equibase statistics through Saturday,
Sutherland ranks No. 46 nationally with 42 wins from 360 mounts and purse
earnings for her mounts of $2,796,834. The corresponding numbers for Hall of
Fame member Smith are No. 42 nationally with 33 wins from 215 mounts and
earnings of $2,916,970.
Sutherland had a breakthrough moment in March, becoming the first female to
win the Santa Anita Handicap, when she got Game On Dude under the wire first.
Sutherland also gave Game On Dude, her mount for the Pacific Classic here on
August 28, a gutsy ride in finishing second to stablemate First Dude in the
Hollywood Gold Cup on July 9.
The Santa Anita Handicap prompted Sutherland to decided to summer at Del Mar
for the first time rather than go back to Woodbine in Canada, where she had
been a leading rider several times.
“She’s wanted to stay for the past few years, and then when she won the
Santa Anita Handicap discussions really got serious,” Beach said.
In the summer of 2003, when Del Mar staged a “Battle of the Sexes” match
race involving Krone and Valenzuela – substituting for the injured Gary
Stevens – Beach was booking mounts for both Krone and Mike Smith.
“Mike had helped recruit Julie for me,” Beach said.
With Beach setting up mounts, Krone had a superb summer. She won 49 races,
second only by three to Patrick Valenzuela in a race for the title that went
down to the final day.
Valenzuela’s 52 wins came from 294 mounts, an 18 percent win rate. Krone’s
49 victories were achieved from 253 mounts, a 19 percent rate. And Krone swept
the three races of the meeting which merit painting the winning owners’ silks
on the paddock jockey statues winning the Pacific Classic with Candy Ride, the
Debutante with Halfbridled and the Futurity with Siphonizer.
Krone, aboard a horse named Woke Up Dreamin trained by Bob Baffert,
lost the match race with Valenzuela, on Chester’s Choice trained by Summer
Mayberry, by a nose. It was the closest match race since Seabiscuit edged
Ligarotti in 1937 in the event that is widely considered to be the one that put
Del Mar on the racing map.
Now comes the Battle of the Exes with Sutherland and ex-fiancee Smith.
“If I had to make the morning line, I’d say Chantal is the heavy
underdog,” Beach said. “She’s never match-raced before and Mike grew up match
racing in New Mexico.
“Of the horses they have lined up, Chantal has ridden Parable before, so if
that’s the way the draw goes that might be a little advantage for her. I lost
the last match race here and it would be nice to turn the tables in this one.”