Arlington Million

Barn Notes: Sunday, August 13, 2017

| Churchill Downs Communications | 08/14/2017 #
  • Beach Patrol (Four Footed Fotos)

  • Beach Patrol Pounces on Second Grade I Win
  • Mekhtaal to Stay Stateside with Motion

BEACH PATROL POUNCES ON SECOND GRADE I WIN

James Covello, Sheep Pond Partners and Head of Plains Partners’ Beach Patrol put his talent in the spotlight Saturday when winning the Grade I Arlington Million for trainer Chad Brown. The 4-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid returned to the site of his 2016 Grade I victory in the Secretariat Stakes to turn the tables on Deauville (IRE), who had bested the Million winner as a 3-year-old in the Grade I Belmont Derby last year.

Breaking from gate nine after the scratch of Scottish (IRE) to his inside, jockey Joel Rosario guided the colt to the front to stalk pacesetting Illinois-bred Oak Brook through sensible early fractions. As the leader began to wane on the lead turning for home, Deauville was urged up the rail by Ryan Moore to take the lead but Beach Patrol kicked on down the middle of the track to inch clear of the Aidan O’Brien trainee while Touch Gold Racing’s Marco Botti-trained Fanciful Angel (IRE) rallied for second a neck over the Ballydoyle runner.

“I was confident that he was going to run his race,” said owner James Covello. “He’s been a little unlucky outside of Arlington whether it’s the trip, or where he finds himself between other horses. He’s a horse that likes to stalk other horses from the outside. He’s drawn outside both times at Arlington, and he likes that. He’s run the same race a lot this year and obviously it hasn’t always been good enough, but this time it was. I had a lot of confidence in him, but there were a lot of good horses in there and, boy, what a thrill it was.”

It was the fourth win in a career of 15 starts during which the colt had finished second five times and third another three. In total Beach Patrol has hit the board in all but three of his starts, one due to a disqualification from second to fourth. He is a perfect two-for-two at the Chicagoland oval.

“For a horse to consistently show up like that in Grade I-races against top competition at different racetracks is just remarkable to me,” Covello added.

The victory earned Beach Patrol an automatic entry to the Grade I $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar on Nov. 4, which is to be contested over 1½-miles at the seaside track for the first time. Covello believes Beach Patrol, the son of Quiet American-mare Bashful Bertie, herself from a family of multiple graded-stakes winners, has not shown anything in previous races to discount his chances at going longer. A test of his stamina could possibly come in the Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park on Sept. 30.

“I think he can get the mile and a half,” said Covello. “He strides out at a mile and a quarter and galloped out well, and he stayed on well at 1 3/8 miles at Monmouth. He’ll go to the [Breeders' Cup] as long as he’s healthy, but I think it’s going to depend if we can get a break like [in the Million] where we have a horse to sit off of. It’s obviously much easier to get the mile and a half if you can get a stalking trip instead of doing all the dirty work up front, but it can be done – like Highland Reel last year.”

MEKHTAAL TO STAY STATESIDE WITH MOTION

Al Shaqab Racing’s Grade I Arlington Million runner Mekhtaal (GB), trained by Jean-Claude Rouget for his start in Chicago, will stay in North America under the care of Graham Motion to pursue a campaign in the United States for the remainder of the year. The 4-year-old son of Sea The Stars (IRE) is a Group I winner in France who was making just his 10th career start when he finished near the rear of the field in the Million.

“I didn’t quite realize how awkward the outside position was at the start of the race,” said Motion. “It affected my horse (Ascend) some, but I think Frankie (Dettori, aboard Mekhtaal) got the worst of it.”

The colt shipped by van Sunday morning from Arlington International Racecourse to Maryland where he will join Motion’s string at Fair Hill Training Center. Motion said they may look at the Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont on Sept. 30 as a possible next start.