OTB Race Previews & Odds
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Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap is on tap for this Monday, May 27 from Belmont Park in Elmont, New York and is just one of three Grade 1 races on the packed Monday card. A generous purse of $750,000 will be on the line for horses three years old and upward willing to race one mile on Belmont Park's main dirt track.
A typically superb field of nine will line up in the Metropolitan Handicap which is tabbed for race 10 on Belmont Park's jam-packed Monday card. Post time is 5:49 PM. Let's take a brief glance into the past performances of all nine entries for the main event on Belmont's Holiday Monday schedule - the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap - seven of which have recorded a Grade 1 or Grade 2 score.
Cross Traffic - Todd Pletcher trained colt has just three career starts - two wins at Gulfstream Park to start his career including a maiden score in his debut January 24 and a nice Allowance Optional Claiming score March 10 by 7 1/2 lengths. Last time out was a successful graded stakes debut - a good second behind Flat Out in the Grade 3 Westchester Stakes at Belmont Park April 27 with a Beyer Speed Figure over 115. He may not be the most experienced of the contenders but he may just emerge as the best on Monday!
Flat Out - won the 2011 Jockey Club Gold Cup and repeated that score September 29 on this track. He was a decent third in the Breeders' Cup Classic but had two off the board finishes in his next two starts - a fourth in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap and a fifth in the Grade 2 New Orleans Classic at Fair Grounds March 30. He bounced back in a big way with a terrific score in the Grade 3 Westchester Stakes on this track April 27 beating Cross Traffic and earning a Beyer Speed Figure over 115. He now has three straight wins at Belmont Park and could be a sneaky entry in the Met Mile.
Swagger Jack - had five starts in 2012 - all Allowance Optional Claiming races with two wins and a second place finish. He has four starts in 2013 - an Allowance Optional Claiming score January 17, a nice second in the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship Stakes behind Fort Loudon February 9, another good second in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap and a terrific and deserved win last time out in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct April 6. He has three wins and two seconds second in his last five starts overall and looks like the biggest threat heading into the Met Mile. He beat some of his Met Mile competitors in his last two starts and is expected to have a big race Monday.
Sahara Sky - Jerry Hollendorfer trained Sahara Sky raced in graded stakes company for the first time in January having won twice, finished second twice and recorded a third place finish in five Allowance races in 2012. He recorded an impressive win in that race - the Grade 2 Palos Verdes at Santa Anita January 19 at 21-1 odds and followed that with another terrific win in the Grade 2 San Carlos at Santa Anita February 23. Last time out he finished a very respectable second in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap behind Swagger Jack. He has won three of his last five starts and is yet another huge threat for the Met Mile.
Discreet Dancer - Todd Pletcher trained colt and Cross Traffic stablemate has been very impressive - four wins and two third place finishes in six career starts. Last time out was an OK third as even money favorite in the Carter Handicap behind Swagger Jack and Sahara Sky after a terrific win in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap by 5 1/4 lengths March 9 and an Allowance Optional Claiming score also at Gulfstream February 6 that followed an 11 month layoff. His only other blemish so far was a third in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream in February of 2012. Discreet Dancer lines up as another uber-quality entry for the competitive Met and could emerge Monday.
Metropolitan Handicap betting at Belmont Park with OffTrackBetting.com
Mark Valeski - has finished either first or second in eight of nine career starts and has alternated seconds and firsts in his last five starts overall. Last time out was a second in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap March 30 after a win in the Grade 3 Mineshaft Handicap February 23, a second in the Louisiana Handicap in January, a win in the Grade 2 Peter Pan and a second in the 2012 Louisiana Derby. He has been at or near the top in every career start for trainer J. Larry Jones and is yet another quality entry for the Met.
Handsome Mike - has just three wins in 17 career starts - a Maiden Special Weight score at Santa Anita in October, out of nowhere in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby in September and in April at the Grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes at Keeneland - the only time he's placed in five starts this year. Last time out was an OK fourth in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes May 4. Also this year Handsome Mike had a seventh in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, a fourth in the Grade 2 Strub Stakes to follow a pedestrian fifth in the competitive San Fernando in January. Handsome Mike placed in just three of his last 12 starts but opened a few eyes two back with his win in the Commonwealth.
Fort Loudon - finished fourth in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap last time out at Aqueduct April 6 after an OK third in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap March 9 behind Swagger Jack and a very good win in the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship Stakes February 9. Before that was a third in the Sunshine Millions Classic, a second in the Sunshine Stake Stakes and a good second in the Grade 3 Ack Ack Stakes at Churchill Downs November 2. Fort Loudon has been in every race the last seven months and will be looking to rebound from his uncharacteristically poor start last time out in the Carter.
Fed Biz - Bob Baffert trained colt has four wins in 11 career starts including the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes January 12 over Tritap and Guilt Trip. He had an OK third in the Grade 2 Strub February 2, a third in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile March 2 and was second last time out in the minor Thunder Road Stakes at Santa Anita April 6. Last year he had two wins coming at one mile - the El Cajon Stakes August 31 at Del Mar followed an Allowance Optional Claiming score back in February. He had a hiccup this past winter - a sixth in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes to follow an eighth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile but has returned to competitive form - placing in his last four starts with that win in the San Fernando.
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