The Jerry Hollendorfer trained Sahara Sky got his nostril in front at the wire to beat a very game Cross Traffic on Monday’s $750,000 Met Mile (G1) at Belmont Park, with betting favorite Flat Out suffering his first loss at Belmont Park in a third place finish.
I wrote in my analysis that I thought both Cross Traffic and Flat Out would regress off their matching 115 Beyers they earned when a nose apart in the Westchester (G3) on April 27.
For Cross Traffic it was just his third career start in the Westchester, and it appeared the Beyer may have been on the generous side. I thought the number was about five points on the high side, which may have proved just about right.
Cross Traffic earned a 109 Beyer for his nose loss in the Met Mile, down six points, but the effort hardly looked like a bounce. The Todd Pletcher trainee has now done little wrong in four career starts, three triple digit Beyers earned, and he is a budding star in the handicap division.
For Flat Out, he came into the Met Mile perfect in four starts over the Belmont Park main track including wins in the last two Jockey Club Gold Cups (G1). I thought his chance of a regression was less than his rival Cross Traffic, and he did finish third and was beaten 3 ½ lengths.
However, I do not really think we can call his effort much of a regression. The seven-year-old had some traffic troubles which jockey Junior Alvarado thought cost him the race.
“At the three-eighths pole I had a hole and wanted to get in a better position so he could pick it up, and it took a while for him to get that position,” Alvarado said. “And then the hole closed and I had to check him. That definitely cost us the race. He should have won that race. After that [incident], I thought he was going to finish last after all the bumping and clipping heels and everything. I thought he wouldn’t give me anything after that, but he did.”
For the winner Sahara Sky it a picture perfect heady ride from jockey Joel Rosario. He took the five-year-old five wide coming into the stretch and actually drifted out farther under a left handed whip and got up in the last jump.
The Hollendorfer trainee had come up three-quarters of a length short two back in the Carter Handicap (G1) in his first trip in New York behind Swagger Jack. He had won the seven furlong San Carlos (G2) in his previous outing at Santa Anita Park.
The winner paid $11.60 with the $2 exacta with Cross Traffic returning $77.00.
Sahara Sky Wins Met Mile
Baffert Gets Lucky in Acorn
The Bob Baffert trained Midnight Lucky bounced back from her fifth place finish in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) with a sharp score in the $300,000 Acorn (G1) on the Monday undercard.
The filly stumbled coming out of the gate, recovered nicely under jockey Rosie Napravnik to prompt the early pace set by Momentary Magic, took over at the quarter pole and drew off to win by 6 ¼ lengths.
The filly returned $4.20 as the favorite with Close Hatches completing a $2 exacta that paid $13.80.
Kauai Kate came into the race as the even money favorite on the morning line and checked in third as the second choice, just her second career loss in eight starts.
Midnight Lucky Wins Acorn
Tiz Miz Sue Upset Winner in Ogden Phipps
Trainer Larry Jones sent out even money betting favorite Joyful Victory and last year’s Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Believe You Can, but it was the Steve Hobby trained Tiz Miz Sue who proved best in the $400,000 Ogden Phipps (G1).
Under jockey Joe Rocco Jr., the six-year-old mare stalked the early pace from the inside, altered course to the outside for the stretch drive and battled on gamely with Authenticity in the stretch to prevail by a half-length, returning $10.80 as the third choice in the field of six.
The mare came into the race off a sin in the Azeri (G3) and a runner up finish in the Apple Blossom (G1), both trips coming at Oaklawn Park.
The Todd Pletcher trained Authenticity, who had won the La Troien (G2) at Churchill Downs in her previous outing, completed a $2 exacta that returned $70.00.
Tiz Miz Blue Wins Ogden Phipps