Beach Cartel wins Born Runner Classic

Beach Cartel passed his first real test as an older Quarter Horse Saturday, May 28, and the four-year-old gelding passed with flying colors. Ridden by Rodney Prescott, the son of Escondido Beach turned in a commanding performance to win the eighth running of the $75,000 Born Runner Classic at Indiana Grand, the first Quarter Horse stakes of the 2016 racing season.

Starting from post one, Beach Cartel had a clean break from the gate and once he got a few strides into the race, he was unstoppable The grey Indiana bred Quarter Horse rallied home in a quick :19.969 seconds to win by one-half length. WH Design By Dash and Cristian Esqueda found a spot along the outside to close in for second over Chilled Six Pack and Harold Collins for third.

Trained by Randy Smith and owned by breeder Sheri Miller of Shipshewana, Ind., Beach Cartel is now eight for 11 in his career and has won his last four outings. He toppled over the $200,000 career earnings mark with his win in the Born Runner Classic.

“We were a little concerned about post one because there haven’t been any winners from post one yet this year,” said Smith. “But he (Beach Cartel) amazed us out of post one and got the win.”

Beach Cartel, the heavy favorite of the 10-horse field, paid $3.40, $3.20, $2.60 across the board. His winning time of :19.969 seconds also established a new stakes record for the Born Runner Classic, surpassing the old mark set in 2014 by Air Born Leader and Harold Collins in a time of :20.007 seconds.

“This horse (Beach Cartel) does everything right,” said Prescott. “He stands perfect in the gate and doesn’t make a move. He’s a fast horse.”

Beach Cartel, 2015 Three-Year-Old Colt of the Year in Indiana, is now two for two in 2016. It also marked the third stakes win for the horse, who was unraced at two.

“We haven’t made any changes to him this year,” said Smith. “He’s come back like the horse he really is. He went to Glen and Sheri Miller’s place at the end of the meet last year and was turned out. We brought him back in at the end of February to our farm here in Indiana and started getting him ready. He’s getting bigger and better all the time.”

It was the second time Prescott had been aboard Beach Cartel, both of which are wins. The race also marked a milestone for Prescott. Known for a career in Thoroughbred racing for the past 21 years, Prescott has also fared well in the Indiana Quarter Horse ranks, and the win aboard Beach Cartel was his 100th career Quarter Horse win.

“I think pretty much all of my Quarter Horse wins have been in Indiana,” said Prescott. “I did ride a few Quarter Horses over the years at River Downs, so I might have won a race there, but all the others were in Indiana.”

Prescott currently leads the jockey standings for Quarter Horses and is also among the track’s top five in the Thoroughbred ranks. Last season, he made history by finishing in the top five in both categories, a first in the history of pari-mutuel racing for the state of Indiana.

For Smith, Beach Cartel was one of four horses in the field from his stable. The Broughton, Ill. native is the defending champ among all Quarter Horse trainers and rewrote the record books in 2015, winning 46 races and accumulating purse money in excess of $1.1 million, new records for both categories.