There are eight Grade 1 races on the Belmont Stakes Day card and none came up as tough as the $1 million Metropolitan Handicap, or as most call it, the Met Mile.
The field of nine includes six that have earned over $1 million led by Thunder Snow, who has earned over $16 million, most of that coming by taking back to back editions of the Dubai World Cup (G1).
The race is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).
The Bob Baffert trained McKinzie is the 5-2 morning line favorite. The colt won the Alysheba (G2) at Churchill Downs in his last outing on Kentucky Oaks Day. The colt has landed in the exacta in nine of his 10 career starts including winning the one turn seven-furlong Malibu (G1) at Santa Anita last December.
Mitole will be going beyond seven furlongs for the first time in his career. The Steve Asmussen trainee won the Churchill Downs (G1) last out on Derby Day.
Coal Front (6-1) has won seven of his nine starts including the Godolphin Mile (G2) in Dubai in his last start.
Firenze Fire (4-1) figures to take some action off his smart looking win in the Runhappy over the main track at Belmont Park where he is perfect in three trips.
Thunder Snow just missed in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) over the Belmont Park main track last September, beaten by longshot Discreet Lover. The Saeed bin Suroor trainee then ran a good third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) behind Accelerate and Gunnevera.
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“This is a good place to start for him,” Bin Suroor said. “He is ready to run. He will have an American campaign and we want to get him started. The Breeders’ Cup Classic is the goal again this year.”
Completing the field are Prince Lucky (12-1), Pavel (20-1), Promises Fulfilled (12-1) and Tale of Silence (30-1).
The Met Mile goes off as the ninth race on a blockbuster 13-race card.
Let’s head to Belmont Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 9 The Metropolitan Handicap G1 (Post time 4:46 ET)
#3 Mitole 3-1
#2 McKinzie 5-2
#7 Firenze Fire 4-1
#4 Thunder Snow 5-1
The colt stretches out to a mile for the first time in his career. Last out this guy could not have been more impressive. he prompted the early pace and drew off smartly to win the Churchill Downs (G1) going seven furlongs, his seventh win in 10 career starts. The Asmussen trainee has not really been tested during his six-race win streak but will today as this is one tough field. He owns sol early and mid pace numbers and looks quick enough to clear but if someone else wants the lead a tracking trip should suit him as well. The barn is 19% winners moving runners from sprint to route.
The Baffert trainee earned a career top speed fig winning the Alysheba (G2) last out at Churchill Downs over a wet track going 1 1/6 miles. He was beaten a tough nose two back in the Santa Anita ‘Cap (G1) by Gift Box. His last trip going one turn was four back in the Malibu (G1) where he drew clear to win by 4 3/4 lengths. He owns a solid pace pile throughout and comes in here very sharp.
Trained by Jason Servis, the colt tracked the early pace and drew clear to win the Runhappy last out at Belmont Park going six furlongs. His last trip at a one turn mile came in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) where he was a disappointing fourth, beaten 11 1/4 lengths. Last summer at a mile here he won the Dwyer (G3) by nine lengths with a career top speed fig. He is perfect in his three trips over the main track here. He makes his third start off the bench and should get a good trip mid pack and will see some pace in front of him.
WIN: #3 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 2,3,4,7
TRI: 2,3 / 2,3,4,7 / 1,2,3,4,7