2nd September 2023
Cast-off sprinter Long Beach wound back the clock to end a 798-day winning drought with an upset victory in the $100,000 Jolly Beggar Stakes (1000m) at Belmont Park on Saturday.
Sent out a $19 chance, the Chris and Michael Gangemi-trained gelding surprised connections and jockey Shaun O’Donnell when he ploughed through driving rain to dominate a strong field.
Long Beach launched a powerful run from midfield to beat Puli ($9) by 1-3/4 lengths.
Long Beach started his career with leading owner Bob Peters before he was sold to the Gangemi brothers.
The now seven-year-old had been in solid form without threatening to win since his last victory in June 2021.
“I didn’t expect him to win like that,” Chris Gangemi said.
“I thought before the run he could run a cheeky race from a good gate ridden dead (cold).
“He’s been going well behind the scenes and there’s been a few people wanting to retire him, but lucky we didn’t.
“He’s been really unlucky a couple of times.
“The ability’s there when he wants to produce it. I think the blinkers have probably helped him and getting the suck run probably helped, too.”
A mud-splattered O’Donnell rode Long Beach for luck near the inside and was presented with a dream run in the straight.
“I was shocked,” O’Donnell said.
“Not that he hasn’t been a fair horse in his day, but a couple of owners told me he doesn’t like the track (soft) like this.
“I went to the fence and then I was able to come off and the heavens opened. I couldn’t believe it. I’m ecstatic.”
Long Beach will progress to the $100,000 Nicopolis Stakes (1200m) on September 16.
Chris Gangemi said Tadweer, backed from $6.50 to $4.60 in the Jolly Beggar, was unlucky when running seventh after copping a bump at the start.