Bea uncorks Monster rally in Oceanside

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

July 16th, 2016

Gary Barber’s Monster Bea has apparently been absorbing some lessons from his former stablemates Tepin, Catch a Glimpse, and World Approval. Switched from trainer Mark Casse to Peter Miller ahead of the Del Mar meet, the 12-1 shot dominated the traditional opening day Oceanside on Friday. In the process, he declared himself a top contender for the ensuing legs of Del Mar's 3-year-old turf series, the August 6 La Jolla H. (G3) and the September 4 Del Mar Derby (G2).

Monster Bea has a history of surprises at marquee summer spots. Last year for original owner/trainer Adam Rice, the gelded son of Hat Trick upset a Saratoga turf maiden at 11-1. He was subsequently purchased by Barber and turned over to Casse.

Fifth in both the With Anticipation (G2) and Display, and losing his chance in the Awad when stumbling and unseating his rider, Monster Bea had no luck the rest of his juvenile campaign. He kicked off 2016 by shortening up to five furlongs in the February 27 Texas Glitter at Gulfstream, where he improved to third, but took three more starts to break through in entry-level allowance company. At last turning that corner at Churchill Downs June 10, he was ready for another crack at stakes level in this $117,970 prize.

Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, aboard for his allowance score as well as his rallying second at Churchill two back, stuck with Monster Bea. Giving him a patient ride, he bided his time in seventh as the 22-1 Imperious One and 15-1 Mr. Roary vied through fractions of :22.85, :46.34 and 1:11.77. Moonlight Drive, the 2-1 favorite, ranged up to challenge turning for home and easily took command.

But by that point, Monster Bea was rolling into contention wider out. Sprinting past Moonlight Drive as though he were standing still, he drew 2 1/4 lengths clear and ripped his final furlong in :11.60 according to Trakus. Monster Bea, who finished the firm-turf mile in 1:35.93, rewarded his loyalists with a $27.20 win mutuel.

Path of David held third by a head from the closing Dressed in Hermes, who recorded the second-fastest final furlong in :11.86. Arcature ran evenly in fifth, while Mr. Roary and Imperious One folded to eighth and ninth. Hollywood Don stalked early but tired badly to last in his belated sophomore bow.

Bred by Robert B. Trussell Jr. in Kentucky, Monster Bea was a bargain $2,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling purchase by Rice. He’s now earned $179,637 from his 10-3-1-1 line. Monster Bea’s dam, the Elusive Quality mare Aunt Bea, is an unraced full sister to Grade 3 winner Elusive Jazz. This is the further family of Grade 1 star and $2.5 million-earner Dramatic Gold and current Spiral (G3) winner Oscar Nominated, who just missed in last Saturday’s American Derby (G3).

Quotes from Del Mar

Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens on Monster Bea: “My new agent (Mike Ciani) really liked this horse when I won on him in Kentucky (an allowance race on June 10). He (Ciani) said ‘How about the Oceanside.’ Mark Casse had this horse in Kentucky and he did a great job with him. And I think he’ll like the mile and one eighth, too. The Del Mar Derby distance. I think that’s where we’re going here.

“Opening Day at Del Mar is special. Opening Day and Pacific Classic Day. It’s like a Breeders’ Cup Day or a (Kentucky) Derby Day. So special. So good to be part of it. My first one here was 1985. I still remember it.”

Winning trainer Peter Miller: “Mr. (Gary) Barber (the owner) just called me and said  ‘I’ve got a horse I’m sending out from Kentucky to you’. We’ve only had him about a week. All the credit goes to (former trainer) Mark Casse. He did a super job and had him ready to run and we just babysat him for a week. Hopefully it does bode well for our stable and for Mr. Barber’s horses here. I’ll get together with Mr. Barber and we’ll talk about the La Jolla and Del Mar Derby (additional races in the series).”

Jockey Rafael Bejarano on Moonlight Drive, second as the 2-1 favorite: “He ran good. The winner pushed me out. But he (Monster Bea) was much the best today. He just was.”

Jockey Tyler Baze on third-placer Path of David: “I had to move with him sooner than I wanted to because Gary (Stevens on Monster Bea) made his move. I’m not sure my horse was 100% cranked for this one. Next time he’ll be ready.”

Photo courtesy of Benoit