Beach Patrol captures the Arlington Million

Beach Patrol captures the Arlington Million
Photo: Jon Durr/Eclipse Sportswire

One year ago Beach Patrol came to Arlington Park and took down the track's premier grass race for three-year-olds, the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes. Winless since then, Beach Patrol came back to Arlington and scored a hard fought win over longshot Fanciful Angel in today’s Grade 1 Arlington Million.

Beach Patrol capped a historic day for trainer Chad Brown and Sheep Pond Partners, part of the ownership group of Beach Patrol. In winning today’s Grade 1 Arlington Million, Beach Patrol became just the third horse to win the Grade 1 Secretariat and then come back the following year and win Arlington’s signature race. For trainer Chad Brown, all he did was win the Grade 1 Beverly D with Dacita, and then one race later, the Million with Beach Patrol. This marks the first time a trainer has won both marquee events in the same year.

Prominent throughout, Beach Patrol broke from the gate sharply and was hustled towards the front by jockey Joel Rosario stalking longshot leader Oak Brook through fractions of 49.53 and 1:14.38. The favorite in the race, Deauville, was forwardly place and in good position in fourth, just behind Ghost Hunter. Oak Brook cut the corner turning for home still in front, but Deauville snuck through on the inside and took a narrow lead in the stretch. Rosario, though, had Beach Patrol in full flight in the center of the course, and he collared Deauville with 100 yards to go, and pulled away to a half-length win. Longshot Fanciful Angel (73-1) closed well for second, Deauville flattened out and just held third by a head over the closing Enterprising.

For Jay Hanley and Sol Kumin’s Sheep Pond Partners, they are part of the ownership group of Dacita as well. Sol Kumin spoke afterwards about what this win in the Million meant to him, “This was the spot and the race we’ve been waiting for a year. He loves it here, 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 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.”

“They told me I had to get him out of the gate and get into a good position and let him find himself," said Jockey Joel Rosario. "It took a little bit of time, but he really found his way after. I appreciate the chance and the opportunity to be able to ride him today.”

Beach Patrol improved his record to 15-4-5-3 and his earnings jumped to $1,456,945 for owners James Covello, Sheep Pond Partners and Head of Plains Partners. The son of Lemon Drop Kid was bred in Kentucky by Nancy Shuford and was sold at the 2013 Keeneland November breeding stock sale to his initial owners Gary and Mary West for $250,000.

For the runner-up Fanciful Angel, jockey Daniel Muscutt summed up his 73-1 shot’s trip saying, “We had a good spot on the rail and he cruised around. Got space at the right time, they were just one better at the end. I’m delighted.” Ryan Moore, who rode the favorite Deauville, thought that maybe the distance got to his horse, “I think he ran a very good race. He had his chance, maybe the trip stretched him.”

For 2015 Million winner The Pizza Man, today’s race was likely his last. He finished 12th and last, beaten about seven lengths. Although he wasn't disgraced, Richard Papiese of Midwest Thoroughbreds told me afterwards that the time may have come, “He’s won an Arlington Million for us and over $2,000,000.” Papiese said. “I think it’s time for us to stop on him, time to do something different with him.” He will talk it over with his trainer Roger Brueggemann in the next day or so, but said they are all in agreement. Papiese indicated to me that The Pizza Man could possibly become a jumper or a stable pony.

Beach Patrol paid $11.80, $6.00, and $4.00, Fanciful Angel paid a whopping $51.00 and $10.40, and Deauville paid $2.80 to show. Ascend checked in fifth, while Oak Brook faded to sixth. Divisidero, Oscar Nominated, Kasaqui. Mekhtaal, Ghost Hunter, and The Pizza Man completed the order of finish.

Final time of 2:02.39 was .60 slower than the Secretariat Stakes won by Oscar Performance run four races before. Kicken Kris (2003 & 2004) and Marlin (1996 & 1997) were the only other horses to score the Secretariat and Million in back to back years.

Meet Chip Gehrke

Chip Gehrke has been with Horse Racing Nation since 2015 and currently serves as a Featured Writer. Based outside of Chicago, Chip can be found in the press box many weekends during the Arlington Park meet. The On The Air With Dr. Derby name originates from his local sports radio show appearances as an on-air racing expert. Now also a weekly contributor on FOX Sports radio's "The Fast Track," Chip can be heard giving his thoughts on the racing world every weekend.

In 2017, Chip was chosen to be a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association. As a part of the NTWAB, Chip became a voter for the year-end Eclipse Awards, something he takes very seriously. Some of Chip's favorite writings from the last couple of years is the best way to get to know him, along with following him on Twitter at @doctorderby.

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