Beach Patrol overwhelms the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic

From Horse Racing Nation

Beach Patrol took over on the far turn, and then kicked away from the field in the stretch powering home to a facile five-length win over Fanciful Angel and Oscar Performance in today’s Grade I $500,000 at Belmont Park.

This was the second straight Grade I, and third overall for Beach Patrol who was allowed to go off at 5-1. Breaking his maiden on the grass early last year, Beach Patrol has been a model of consistency. Trained by Chad Brown, Beach Patrol is almost always there at the finish having only been beaten by more than two lengths once in his sixteen race career.

“This horse has really gotten some unfavorable trips early in the year. He really is one of the most consistent horses I’ve had in training. He was very unlucky in some spots and Joel [jockey Rosario] has fit him very well.” Brown said afterwards.

Beach Patrol came into this race off of a half-length win in the Arlington Million over today’s rival and runner-up, Fanciful Angel. That was Beach Patrol’s first win in a year, but he is clearly coming into his own now. Racking up six graded stakes placings along with his three Grade I wins, Beach Patrol has now taken his career to a new level, and is in prime position to secure an Eclipse Award in his next start, the Breeders’ Cup Turf, to which he earned an expenses-paid berth with today’s win.

Owned by James Covello, Head of Plains Partners, and Sheep Pond Partners, Beach Patrol, breaking from post position number five, was prominent throughout, tracking the longshot pacesetter, Converge, over a course rated firm but with some cut in ground from earlier rain. Taking the lead on the far turn, jockey Joel Rosario and Beach Patrol were never really threatened as they pulled away in the stretch for the win.

Oscar Performance briefly looked like he may challenge in the stretch as he raced to the inside of Beach Patrol, who went a little wide around the turn, but he simply didn’t have an answer for the winner. Fanciful Angel closed from sixth to nose out Oscar Performance for second. Sadler’s Joy was another length behind in fourth.

Beach Patrol wins Belmont’s $500,000 guaranteed, Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic. Credit: NYRA

“The horse in front [Converge, No. 2] backed up to me and I wasn’t asking him to do too much, I was just keeping my spot. I didn’t want to ask him to do too much at that point. I knew when I asked, he’d give it to me. I was very comfortable turning for home. When I went to let him know it’s time to go and he accelerated himself,” Rosario said of his trip.

The 4-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid improved his record to 16: 5-5-3 and his earnings now stand at $1,756,945. He 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.

As for the second choice in the race, the star three-year-old Oscar Performance, trainer Brian Lynch summed his thoughts afterwards saying, “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.”

Asked afterwards if Oscar Performance will run in the Breeders” Cup Turf, Lynch hesitated when asked saying “I don’t know. I need to digest it a little bit and think about it. He is only three, so there is no rush. There is always next year for them sort of races. We will just regroup with him here and let the dust settle.”

Beach Patrol rewarded his backers $12.00, $6.70, and $4.70. Fanciful Angel returned $9.00 and $6.80, while Oscar Performance paid $4.50. Final time for 1 1/2 miles was 2:26.29.

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