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Beach No Stranger to Del Mar Match Races

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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.”

 

 

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