Updated on 09/16/2011 7:56AM

Big Cap belongs to Milwaukee Brew

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Michael J. Marten/Horsephotos
Milwaukee Brew (left) pulls clear in the stretch to win by five lengths over Western Pride. Milwaukee Brew ran the 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.02.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Before Saturday's $1 million , Milwaukee Brew was widely considered to be trainer Bobby Frankel's fourth-string contender for the richest race of the Santa Anita meeting.

Grade 1 winners Mizzen Mast and Lido Palace were waiting for summer racing; Euchre was Milwaukee Brew's entrymate and had better recent results.

After Saturday, those rankings may need to be reworked.

Milwaukee Brew ran the best race of his career in the Big Cap, rallying through traffic on the final turn to win by four lengths over pacesetter Western Pride.

"I didn't know he'd run this kind of race," Frankel said.

Milwaukee Brew was ridden by Kent Desormeaux, who was booked to ride Mizzen Mast until he was sidelined by a foot injury.

Milwaukee Brew was scheduled to run in Sunday's New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds, but was rerouted to Santa Anita.

As part of a Frank Stronach-owned entry, Milwaukee Brew paid $11.40, but would have been a much higher price on his own. In his only other start of 2002, Milwaukee Brew finished a disappointing sixth in the Whirlaway Handicap at Fair Grounds on Feb. 10, his first start for Frankel.

"When we sent him to New Orleans, he never ran a jump and got beat four lengths," Frankel said. "Kent didn't know him and I didn't know him. He took a hold of him and he just sucked back to last and never picked it up. Today, he decided to let him run out of the gate a little, get into the bridle and then he rode him from there."

Desormeaux had Milwaukee Brew at the back of the field early, well off the fast pace of 22.28 and 45.06 seconds set by Western Pride, who led by a length on the backstretch.

Milwaukee Brew raced off the rail on the backstretch and was wide on the second turn. At that point, Frankel said he lost view of Milwaukee Brew in the 14-horse field.

Passing horses quickly, Milwaukee Brew emerged between horses to challenge in early stretch. Western Pride, who had led by two lengths at the quarter pole, was only a head in front at the eighth pole.

"When we turned for home, there seemed to be a pocket," Desormeaux said.

"When I split horses, he just barreled through there with such a powerful run."

Milwaukee Brew was alone in the final furlong, winning comfortably. Carrying 115 pounds, three less than joint highweights Futural and Euchre, Milwaukee Brew finished 1 1-4 miles in 2:01.02.

"He rode a great race to get through," Frankel said.

Western Pride finished second, and was followed by Kudos, Giant Gentleman, Cagney, Irisheyesareflying, Fancy As, Las Parade, Seinne, Freedom Crest, Dig For It, Futural, Euchre and Sky Jack. Euchre may have opened a quarter crack in the race, Frankel said.

The Big Cap was Milwaukee Brew's first stakes win since the Grade 2 Ohio Derby in 2000. By Wild Again, Milwaukee Brew has won 5 of 15 starts and $1,146,612.

The victory marked Frankel's first win in the Big Cap.

"To be honest, I liked him more," Frankel said. "He probably would have been 30 or 40-1 on his own," Frankel said. "I should have scratched the other horse and bet on him."