Flat Out and Cross Traffic were separated by just a head last out and the bounce candidates figure to take plenty of betting action when they line up again in Monday’s $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap (G1), known as the Met Mile.
A field of nine will line up in the Met Mile, one of three Grade 1 races on the 11-race Memorial Day card, with the Bill Mott trained Flat Out the 5-2 morning line favorite. The seven-year-old is perfect in four trips over the Belmont Park main track.
He prevailed by a head last out, battling with the lightly raced Cross Traffic from the Todd Pletcher barn. Cross Traffic (3-1) set the early fractions and battled gamely right to the wire where he was caught in the last couple of jumps. The colt was making just his third career start.
The duo sure looks as if they could regress off the hard fought effort, and I am going to look to pull off the upset with longshot Fed Biz (15-1), who will be saddled by hall of fame trainer Bob Baffert.
There is a $500,000 guaranteed all-stakes Pick 4 that starts with the seventh race, the $200,000 Sands Point (G2) for three-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf.
The race drew six runners along with one main track only entrant. The Christophe Clement trained Discreet Marq is the 5-2 morning line favorite. The filly was beaten just a neck last out in the Sweet Chant at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 27.
Larry Jones will send out two of the major players in the $400,000 Ogden Phipps (G1) for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Joyful Victory is the 7-5 morning line favorite off a win in the Santa Margarita (G1) at Santa Anita Park in her last outing. Her stablemate Believe You Can (4-1) was third in the La Troinne (G2) in her last outing on May 3. The filly won last year’s Kentucky Oaks (G1).
The $$300,000 Acorn (G1) also drew a field of six led by the Todd Pletcher trained Kauai Kate who is the even money favorite on the morning line. The filly has won six of her seven starts, her lone loss coming in her only try going two turns, a fourth place finish last fall in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
Trainer Bob Baffert, who won this race with Gabby’s Golden Gal in 2009 and Contested last year, will saddle Midnight Lucky (7-5). The filly was the pacesetter in the Kentucky Oaks before tiring to finish fifth.
The holiday card gets underway at 1:05 ET with the late Pick 4 starting at 4:13 ET.
To purchase my full card report for Belmont Park click here.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Monday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 10 The Metropolitan Handicap G1 (5:49 ET)
9 Fed Biz 15-1
3 Mark Valeski 5-1
6 Flat Out 5-2
7 Sahara Sky 6-1
Analysis: Fed Biz returns to the main track here after a game second last out in the Thunder Road on the turf at Santa Anita Park going a mile. The colt set the early fractions and battled on gamely right to the wire, beaten a head. Three have exited that race to win next out including the third place finisher Tigah, who won the San Francisco (G3) at Golden Gate Fields on April 27. Breaking from the outside he should get a good tracking trip sitting just off the pace and he is going to be a price here. He has won three of his four trips at today’s distance, the lone loss coming in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) where he did not have a great trip. We need to see a bounce here by Flat Out and Cross Traffic to get the money.
Mark Valeski is coming off a good effort in a runner up finish in the New Orleans Handicap (G2) at Fair Grounds. He won the Mineshaft (G3) two back, his first win since taking the Peter Pan (G2) over the main track here last year. It is interesting he earned a 100 Beyer last out while Flat Out and Cross Traffic each earned a 115. Looking at the BRIS speed figs our second choice earned the highest last out number at 109 while the duo both earned a 107. Is the Beyer just generous? It sure looks that way although there was no real bias that day. The Larry Jones trainee has landed in the exacta in eight of his nine career starts and we may not have seen the best out of him yet.
Flat Out looks likely to regress off his Westchester (G3) win where he beat Cross Traffic by a hard fought head. His price may end up south of 5-2 which sure looks like it makes him an underlay here. It is tough to overlook his perfect record over the main track here which includes a pair of Grade 1 wins in the Jockey Club Gold Cup the last two years. Does he have another big run in him over this surface? To find out we will have to settle for a short price and I’m still holding a grudge against this guy as he was my top pick in the ’11 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) where he was fifth. I think we try to beat him today.
WIN: #9 to win at 10-1 or better.
EX: 3,9 / 3,6,7,9
TRI: 3,9 / 3,6,7,9 / 1,3,6,7,9