OffTrackBetting.com - The Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap is on tap for this Saturday, June 11 from Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. Horses three years old and upward will take to Belmont Park's dirt track and race one mile for a purse of $1.25 million.
A competitive field of 13 will line up in the Metropolitan Handicap - race 9 on Belmont Park's stacked Belmont Stakes Saturday card. Post time is 4:41 PM. Here is a glance into the past performances of all 13 combatants for this intriguing Grade 1 stakes - a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Dirt Mile .
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Frosted 7-2 - Kiaran McLaughlin trained colt finished a respectable second as 9-5 favorite in the 2014 Grade 2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct and followed that with another good runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream January 24, 2015. He finished seventh in the 2015 Breeders' Cup Classic and took his skills to UAE where he won a Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge February 4 and finished fifth in the UAE Derby as second betting choice. Last year he posted a good win in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby September 19, a third behind Keen Ice and American Pharoah in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes August 29 and had consecutive runner-up finishes - in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes August 1 and behind American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes June 6. He also had a troubled fourth in the Kentucky Derby and a huge statement with a win by two lengths in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct last April 4. Frosted has been in there with some of the best in the world and has fared well in those races. He is definitely on the radar for this week and will chase his third win in his last five starts Saturday. Joel Rosario has been tabbed to ride the morning line favorite and 120 pound top weight from post 5.
Noble Bird 9-2 - Mark Casse pupil looked great at this time last year - he won two Allowance Optional Claiming races, finished second in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs in May, 2015 and went on to win the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs in June. He wasn't great after that before a terrific win last time out in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special May 20. He had a disappointing last of eight as favorite in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs May 6, an OK second in the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland April 14, a sixth in an Allowance Optional Claiming in February and a ninth in the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes in August. Noble Bird has been impressive in the past and a win last time out could signal his return to form. Julien Leparoux rides from gate 4.
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Stanford 5-1 - Todd Pletcher trained colt has four wins and four runner-up finishes in 11 career starts. He enters off a terrific gate-to-wire win in the Grade 2 $1.25 million Charles Town Classic April 23 which followed consecutive runner-up finishes - the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap March 5 and the Grade 3 Fred W Hooper Stakes at Gulfstream Park February 6. Before that were a fifth in the minor Curlin Stakes at Saratoga July 31 and a nice win in the minor Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park July 11. He also had a respectable second in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in March, 2015. Stanford has placed in six of his last seven starts overall and will be after his second straight graded stakes score Friday. Javier Castellano has the mount from post 7.
Ami's Flatter 6-1 - Josie Carroll trained colt has three wins, two seconds and a third place finish in 10 career starts and enters off a career best effort - a win in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes at Keeneland April 9. Before that was a fourth in the Grade 3 Fred W. Hooper Stakes at Gulfstream February 6, an Allowance score January 13 and an eighth in the $1 million Queen's Plate at Woodbine in July. He also had a third in the Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream in March, 2015 and a second in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby March 7 of that year. Ami's Flatter has been up and down in his career and hopes to build off a nice win last time out. He shoots for his second straight graded stakes score from gate 8 Saturday with Martin Garcia aboard.
Marking 8-1 - lightly raced Kiaran McLaughlin trained colt has three wins and a second place finish in six career starts. He enters off a fourth in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile at Meydan March 26 after a Handicap score on that track in February and a DNF two weeks earlier. His last North American start came in December - a second in the Grade 1 Madison Stakes at Santa Anita which followed wins in his first two career starts. Marking has been OK so far and will be out for his biggest win to date - from an unfortunate outside post 13 with Jose Lezcano aboard.
Calculator 10-1 - Peter Miller trained colt has nine career starts with four seconds and two third place finishes. He enters on the heels of consecutive runner-up finishes - the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes last time out May 7 and the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct April 9. Before that was an OK third in the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes at Santa Anita Match 12 and consecutive wins - an Allowance Optional Claiming February 13 and in terrific fashion in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes January 10 - 13 months earlier. Other good results include seconds in the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes September 27, 2014 and in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity September 3 of that year - both coming behind American Pharoah. Calculator has placed in seven straight races ahead of this weekend and looks prime for a big effort Saturday. Junior Alvarado has the mount from post 11.
Blofeld 10-1 - will make his ninth career start for trainer Todd Pletcher having posted four wins and a third place finish so far. He was at his best in 2014 when he won the Grade 2 Futurity Stakes at Belmont and the Grade 2 Nashua Stakes. He has just five starts since - a fourth last time out in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap April 16 followed a good win in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap March 5 and a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Gulfstream Park January 27. He also had a fifth in the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park in July and a third in the minor William Walker Stakes in April. Blofeld was impressive early in his career and hopes to return to that form from gate 2 with John Velazquez aboard.
Anchor Down 12-1 - Todd Pletcher trained Ringling has 13 career starts with four wins, a second and two third place finishes. He posted an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Belmont Park in July but failed to place in his next five starts including a fifth in the Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin Stakes in August and a fourth after getting DQ'd from third in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap March 5, 2015. Last time out however was a career-best effort - a win in the Grade 3 Westchester Stakes on this track May 7. It followed consecutive fourths - the Grade 1 Carter Handicap April 9 and the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap in March. Anchor Downs will be after his first stakes score Saturday and enters in so-so form. Jose Ortiz will be in the saddle Saturday from gate 12.
Sloane Avenue 15-1 - has three wins and two second place finishes in eight career starts. He has just one start in North America - an eighth in the Grade 3 Hill Prince Stakes here October 4, 2014. He has spent the rest of his career overseas - a fifth in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile at Meydan (a race he posted a runner-up finish in 2015) followed a second in a stakes in Britain. He also won a minor stakes race at Kempton Park in November, 2014. Sloane Avenue has been OK so far in his career and hopes for a breakthrough in just his third race in 15 months. Florent Geroux gets the call from post 9.
Donworth 20-1 - Doug O'Neill trained colt has just seven career starts with two wins, a second and three third place finishes. Last time out was an OK third in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic April 23 which followed a very disappointing seventh as second choice in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 12, a respectable third after clipping heels in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes here February 6, a good win by 11 lengths in the minor Stanton Stakes at Delaware Park way back on June 20, a third in the minor Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico in May and a second in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes in April. Donworth has been OK so far and hopes for his first graded stakes win with Mario Gutierrez in the saddle from post 3.
Upstart 20-1 - Richard Violette trained colt has just two starts in 2016 - a fifth last time out in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap April 16 followed a good win in the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap March 19. He finished an OK third behind American Pharoah in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational August 2 and followed that with a fourth in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga August 29. He also had a disappointing last of eighteen in last year's Kentucky Derby and consecutive seconds - in the Grade 1 Florida Derby March 28, 2015 and after crossing the line first and being disqualified in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes February 2. Upstart showed his form with a dominant win by 5 1/2 lengths in the competitive Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes January 24, 2015 and also owns a good third in the 2014 Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Upstart has placed in nine of 13 career starts (four wins, three seconds and two third place finishes) but has failed to place in three of his last four overall. Irad Ortiz will be in charge of this previously solid contender from gate 6.
Tamarkuz 20-1 - Kiaran McLaughlin trainee has seven wins and two runner-up finishes in 16 career starts. He was terrific at the beginning of 2015 when he posted three straight wins at Meydan including a Group 3 and the Group 2 Godolphin Mile but he hasn't been great in his three North American starts. Last time out was a fourth in the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap here October 3 after a sixth in the Grade 1 Forego Stakes at Saratoga in August and a fourth in last year's edition of this race. Tamarkuz has shown form in the past but will be out to snap a funk Saturday from gate 10.Luis Saez rides.
El Kabeir 30-1 - John Terranova trained colt was on the Kentucky Derby trail in 2015 before injury set him back. He posted wins in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes in November, 2014 and the Grade 3 Jerome Stakes last January and went on to a second in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes in February, a win in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes in March and a third in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes in April - pretty good before being sent to the sidelines for nearly seven months. He returned to action October 31 and finished fifth in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap October 31 and rediscovered his winning ways in the minor City of Laurel Stakes November 14. He has failed to place in his last three starts however - a seventh last time out in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico May 21 followed another seventh in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita February 6 and a fourth in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita December 26. El Kabeir now has five wins, two seconds and two third place finishes in 14 career starts and enters in inconsistent form. Manuel Franco will try to right the ship from the rail Saturday.