08/13/2017 10:30AM

Return flight delayed for Brown's Million Day winners, but trainer is still flying high

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A mere six lengths separated the entire field in the Arlington Million, from winner Beach Patrol to last-place finisher The Pizza Man.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Mechanical issues caused the flight scheduled to transport the winners of the Arlington Million and Beverly D. back to upstate New York to be cancelled Sunday morning. Chad Brown chuckled about it.

“Let’s get some drama into this story, can we?” Brown said by phone early Sunday from his Saratoga base.

Beach Patrol and Dacita, both trained by Brown, were the respective winners of the Million and Beverly D. here Saturday at Arlington Park. They and other New York-bound horses had to be returned to their stalls at Arlington to await word on when they all could be loaded back up to leave; they actually were on a van headed to O’Hare International Airport when word was received of cancellation. Brown, the first trainer ever to win both Grade 1 races on the same day, said departure was tentatively scheduled for later Sunday or even Monday morning.

“The horses are fine,” he said. “That’s the main thing.”

Brown was not here Saturday to personally witness his historic sweep; he watched via simulcast on a television monitor at Saratoga.

“I just couldn’t manage it,” he said early Sunday. “I just have so much going on here with my breezers and the weather and all. I just couldn’t sacrifice the day. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there because I really do enjoy that trip to Chicago every year and I have all the respect in the world for Arlington and those great races they put on.”

Brown credited his staff, headed by longtime assistant Jose Hernandez, with taking care of business in his absence.

“My repeating it is probably getting old by now, but the staff I have is unreal,” he said. “All the training is done, but you still have to execute, shipping in and taking care of all the details. They did a great job as always.”

Beach Patrol became just the third horse to win the Grade 1 Secretariat and Million in successive years, following Marlin (1996-97) and Kicken Kris (2003-04). He earned a Win and You’re In berth toward the Nov. 3-4 Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar with his half-length victory over 73-1 shot Fanciful Angel in the 1 1/4-mile Million, but Brown said he would have to discuss how to proceed with the colt’s triumvirate of owners – James Covello, Sheep Pond Partners, and Head of Plains Partners.

“He’s a tricky horse,” he said. “A mile [BC Mile] is too short. A mile and a half [BC Turf] is too long. There’s not a Breeders’ Cup race that really fits him. We’ll have to talk over how we want to do with him.”

Conversely, Dacita definitely will be pointed to the BC Filly and Mare Turf, as will the Brown runners who followed her closely to the finish of the Beverly D.: Grand Jete incurred major traffic trouble before salvaging a dead-heat with Dona Bruja for second, and Rainha Da Bateria closed resolutely to be fourth.

“All three fillies are under strong consideration for the Breeders’ Cup, with one prep in between for all of them, I’d say,” said Brown.

The Million was hotly contested top to bottom. A mere six lengths separated the entire field, from Beach Patrol to the last-place finisher. Nobody got beat very far, and yet there was plenty of disappointment to go around. For instance, Deauville, the 9-5 favorite, had a perfect stalking trip under Ryan Moore, yet came up empty when beaten less than a length by Beach Patrol to finish third in the Million for the second straight year.

“He had his chance,” said Moore.

Ascend, a two-back winner of the Grade 1 Manhattan, lost virtually all chance in the opening furlong before recovering to be a decent fifth at 9-1. Others who were well regarded finished a bit farther back, including Divisidero (seventh at 8-1), Kasaqui (ninth at 7-1), Mekhtaal (10th at 5-1), and The Pizza Man (12th and last at 11-1).

The Million capped a sweep of Arlington’s three Grade 1 events by New York jockeys and trainers. Joel Rosario rode Beach Patrol, Irad Ortiz Jr. rode Dacita, and Jose Ortiz was aboard the Secretariat winner, Oscar Performance, for trainer Brian Lynch.

Beyer Speed Figures for the three Grade 1s were Beach Patrol, 100; Dacita, 101; and Oscar Performance, 95.

Buick has fractured vertebra

The standout English jockey William Buick will be sidelined indefinitely after suffering a fractured T-12 vertebra in his lower back, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Surgery will not be required. Buick was resting comfortably at nearby Northwest Community Hospital after being thrown from Permian at the finish of the Secretariat. Buick had been scheduled to ride Sunday in Germany.

Permian, a Godolphin homebred, was euthanized shortly after suffering a catastrophic injury to his left foreleg. The 3-year-old Teofilo colt earned $530,454 from 14 starts for trainer Mark Johnston.

Big day for Lovell, Mena

A 12-1 triumph by Fault in the final race Saturday, the Grade 3 Pucker Up, gave trainer Michelle Lovell the first graded victory of her 14-year training career.

“So proud of my filly Fault who gave her heart to win a G3,” Lovell posted on Twitter.

Fault was ridden by Kentucky-based jockey Miguel Mena, whose only other mount on the card also resulted in an upset. Mena guided Harmac to a 27-1 score in the Bruce D. Memorial for trainer Grant Forster.

Big Million Day mutuels

Only two winning 50-cent tickets were sold on the late pick five that ended on the Pucker Up, with each returning $165,139. There were no winning favorites in the sequence. All-sources handle was $388,583.

The late pick four ending with the Pucker Up returned $2,159 for each winning 50-cent ticket. Handle was $728,978.

In accordance to Churchill Downs Inc. policy, attendance and handle figures are not released by Arlington, although veteran observers noted the ontrack crowd seemed noticeably lighter than for most prior runnings of the Million.

– additional reporting by Marcus Hersh