Monday’s Belmont Park card features four graded stakes including the marquee event of the afternoon, the $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap (G1), which drew a small but very deep field of six older runners.
Five of the six runners in the Met Mile field are coming off victories, while the lone runner that did not hit the winners’ circle last out is the 8-5 morning line favorite.
Caleb’s Posse, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) last fall at Churchill Downs is coming into the race off back to back losses, a neck loss in the Tom Fool Handicap (G3) followed by a tough beat to Jackson Bend in the Carter Handicap (G1) where the pair was separated by the smallest of noses.
It looks like Caleb’s Posse may be able to turn the tables on the stretch out to a mile, but has four other very formidable foes he has to beat to get back into the winners’ circle.
To Honor and Serve was a good looking winner of the Westchester (G3) over the main track here on April 20 and is perfect in two trips over the Belmont Park surface.
The 2011 Preakness (G1) winner Shackleford finished third in the Carter but rebounded with a good looking win in the Churchill Downs (G2) on the Derby Day undercard.
David Jacobson claimed Saginaw for just $30,000 back in March and the gelding has won four straight for the new connections including a victory in the state bred Affirmed Success where he earned a career top Beyer Speed Figure of 109.
Caixa Eletronica completes the field and snapped a two race losing streak taking the $1 million Charles Town Classic (G2) over the tight turns at the West Virginia track.
The Met Mile geos off as the tenth race on the eleven race card and is the anchor leg of a $500,000 Guaranteed All Stakes Pick 4.
The stakes action kicks off in the seventh race with the $200,000 Sands Point (G2) for three-year-old fillies on the grass.
Somali Lemonade makes her second start of the year and is even money on the morning line off a runner up finish in the Appalachian (G3) at Keeneland on April 19.
The $400,000 Ogden Phipps (G1) only drew five fillies and mares, but matches up two of the best in the distaff division in It’s Tricky and Awesome Maria.
The race preceding the Met Mile is the $300,000 TVG Acorn (G1) for three-year-old fillies who will go one mile on the main track.
Hall of fame trainer Bob Baffert sends out Eight Belles (G2) winner Contested, who is the 7-5 morning line favorite in the field of six.
Michael Dempsey provides his selections for Belmont Park each racing day. Mike’s Best Plays Report is available each day Thursday through Sunday, with his strongest plays and selections including the top stakes races.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Monday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 10 The Met Mile G1 (5:47 ET)
- 3 Caleb’s Posse 8-5
- 6 Jackson Bend 3-1
- 1 To Honor and Serve 3-1
- 2 Shackleford 4-1
Analysis: Caleb’s Posse put in two solid efforts this spring, both at distances a bit too short for the colt. He capped off his 2011 campaign by winning the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) going a one turn mile. Last out he came up just a nose shy in the Carter Handicap (G1) to Jackson Bend going seven panels. Two back off a four month layoff he was beaten just a neck in the Tom Fool Handicap (G3) going six furlongs. The stretch out to a mile should suit and he just needs to see some pace in front of him here.
Jackson Bend was really game holding off our top pick by a nose last out. It was his sixth triple digit Beyer in his last seven starts and this Zito runner has really developed since cutting back to one turn races. Shackleford came out of the Carter to win the Churchill Downs (G2) in his next outing on Derby Day. The Zito runner’s career top speed fig came in the slop over the main track here last year in a runner up finish in the Kelso (G2) going a mile.
To Honor and Serve is perfect in three trips going a one turn mile winning the Westchester (G3) last out with something left in the tank. He won the Cigar Mile (G1) two back after a third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). Three he beat in the Cigar Mile came back to win stakes in their next starts. he only beat three last out but earned a solid fig and looks primed for a solid effort here in his second start off a five month layoff.
WIN: #3 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 3,6 / 1,3,6
TRI: no play