If you asked owner Sol Kumin last week how he planned to spend the weekend, he wouldn’t have said watching the races at Arlington.
But Kumin was all smiles Saturday after his horses won the two biggest races of the day, the Beverly D. and the Arlington Million.
Beach Patrol took control of the final stretch of the 35th running of the Million, beating Fanciful Angel by 1½ lengths. And Dacita edged out her competition in the 10-horse field, taking home the Beverly D trophy.
Kumin, who is a part-owner of both horses, said he originally wasn’t going to come to the track after seeing the pool of competition his horses were facing.
“I almost didn’t come. There’s so many good European horses, and they’re hard to handicap,” Kumin said. “I didn’t think we were going to win two races today. No shot.
“You’re never confident in races like this. You’re just hoping to get lucky.”
Kumin attributed most of his success at the track to trainer Chad Brown.
“I’ve watched [Brown] climb. He went from being a really good trainer to, in my opinion, being arguably in the conversation for best in the world,” Kumin said. “He’s 38 years old and works as hard as anybody. And he is incredibly talented.”
Brown has helped Kumin win 12 Grade I races in the last three years, including Beach Patrol in the Secretariat Stakes last year. Brown, who is from New York, wasn’t available for comment.
Joel Rosario wasn’t Beach Patrol’s jockey last year but said he has good chemistry with the horse.
“It’s the best,” Rosario said after taking off his flower blanket. “[Beach Patrol is] a fighter. … I rode with a lot of confidence. He has a lot of in him the whole way.”
The Million also made history for Illinois. It was the first time the race featured two Illinois-bred horses, Oak Brook and The Pizza Man. But neither could deliver a top-five finish. Oak Brook, who held the lead at the start of the final turn, finished in sixth. The Pizza Man, who became the first state-bred horse to win the Million in 2015, finished last.
In the end, Kumin was glad he hopped on a plane to Chicago.
“Today we got lucky, some days we don’t,” he said.
Dacita and Beach Patrol automatically qualified for the Breeders’ Cup Turf in November.
Follow me on Twitter @madkenney.