06/29/2017 12:06PM

United Nations runs through Beach Patrol

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Barbara D. Livingston
Beach Patrol finished fourth by just 1 1/2 lengths in June's Manhattan Stakes, his last time out.

The Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth Park on Saturday looks to be Beach Patrol’s for the taking. The question is, will he reach for it?

Beach Patrol has developed into one of the leading turf runners in the nation for trainer Chad Brown, but it is hard to escape the fact that he hasn’t won since the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington Park last August.

Since then, he has finished second in the Grade 3 Hill Prince, Grade 1 Hollywood Derby, Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, and Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic. In his most recent start, he came up a little short in the Grade 1 Manhattan at Belmont Park, finishing fourth, beaten 1 1/2 lengths.

“Some of his close finishes have been because of trip, but in others, he just was not good enough the last part of the race,” Brown said.

Beach Patrol, 4, has tactical speed and will be forwardly placed if not on the lead against what looks like a paceless group. Although the 1 3/8-mile United Nations will be the longest race of his career, it appears to be within his scope, and jockey Florent Geroux should be able to work out a comfortable journey.

“He’s a very consistent horse,” Brown said. “He just needs to break through.”

The $300,000 United Nations, the last of 11 races at Monmouth on Saturday, has attracted a field of nine, including the California shippers Itsinthepost and Liam the Charmer. Trainer Mike Maker has entered Bigger Picture and Oscar Nominated, while Graham Motion has doubled up with Messi and Can’thelpbelieving.

The field is completed by the Bill Mott-trained Closing Bell and Lucky Lindy, conditioned by Michael Matz.

:: Get bonus PPs for Saturday's United Nations card at Monmouth Park with purchase of any other Saturday PPs

Itsinthepost has become one of the leading turf-marathon runners in California. His trainer, Jeff Mullins, said the timing of the U.N. fits his horse’s schedule and could lead to an Aug. 19 start in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap, a Win and You’re In qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar in November.

Itsinthepost won the Grade 2 San Luis Rey at Santa Anita in March, then traveled to Keeneland, where he won the Grade 2 Elkhorn. He had a less-than-perfect trip in his most recent race, the Grade 2 Charles Whittingham, and finished fifth, beaten 1 1/4 lengths as the 9-5 favorite.

Itsinthepost was rank in the Whittingham and dragged rider Tyler Baze into contention. He was fanned three wide on the first turn, raced forwardly to midstretch, but then lacked the needed closing punch.

“He’s a French horse, and when he gets mad, he gets mad,” Mullins said. “Maybe Tyler should have just let him go and work his way up there instead of trying to save horse. He ran a good race, but he didn’t run his race, if you know what I mean. To me, it’s kind of a throw-out.”

United Nations, Race 11

Key contenders

Beach Patrol, by Lemon Drop Kid

Last 3 Beyers: 102-102-102

◗ He stretched out from 1 1/8 miles to 1 1/4 miles for the Manhattan and will go a furlong farther here.

◗ Geroux may try to cover him up early, but he does appear to have more speed than his rivals.

Itsinthepost, by American Post

Last 3 Beyers: 96-100-98

◗ The sharpness he displayed in the Whittingham suggests he won’t be too far back in the U.N. If nobody wants the lead, it’s not out of the question that he could end up in front.

Bigger Picture, by Badge of Silver

Last 3 Beyers: 97-101-96

◗ Claimed by Maker for $32,000 in late 2015, he is at the top of his game. He was third to Itsinthepost in the Elkhorn last time out.

◗ He has enough speed to adjust to a slow pace.

Liam the Charmer, by Smart Strike

Last 3 Beyers: 97-90-94

◗ Based at Santa Anita with Michael McCarthy, he outran his odds in the Whittingham, finishing fast to be fourth, beaten three-quarters of a length at 15-1.

◗ He was beaten 2 3/4 lengths by Itsinthepost in the San Luis Rey.

◗ This will be Victor Espinoza’s first time back to Monmouth since he won the 2015 Haskell on American Pharoah.

Oscar Nominated, by Kitten’s Joy

Last 3 Beyers: 98-95-96

◗ Although winless in his last six starts, there isn’t a bad race among them, and he has been facing tough competition.

Messi, by New Approach

Last 3 Beyers: 91-91-88

◗ Now 7, he fought hard in his lone start of the year to finish third in the Fort Marcy at Belmont Park. He has had plenty of time since that race and will be a generous price.