2018 Metropolitan Handicap (Met Mile) Contenders & Odds

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NYRA Press Release | OTB Writer

2018 Metropolitan Handicap Odds & Entries

Race 9 on Belmont Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 4:45 PM

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Mind Your Biscuits 5-2 Joel Rosario Chad Summers
2 Bolt d'Oro 4-1 Florent Geroux Mick Ruis
3 Limousine Liberal 10-1 Javier Castellano Ben Colebrook
4 McCraken 12-1 Brian Hernandez, Jr. Ian Wilkes
5 Good Samaritan 10-1 Jose Ortiz William Mott
6 One Liner 12-1 Irad Ortiz, Jr. Todd Pletcher
7 Discreet Lover 50-1 Manuel Franco Uriah St. Lewis
8 Ransom the Moon 10-1 Flavien Prat Philip D'Amato
9 Warrior's Club 20-1 Luis Saez D. Lukas
10 Bee Jersey 5-1 Ricardo Santana, Jr. Steven Asmussen
11 Awesome Slew 6-1 John Velazquez Mark Casse

Bolt d'Oro looking to impress in G1 Met Mile

Belmont Park - Ruis Racing's Bolt d'Oro will make his first appearance on the East Coast when he runs in the Grade 1, $1.2 million Metropolitan Handicap (Met Mile) on Belmont Stakes Day, June 9, marking his first appearance since running 12th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 5.

The Derby misfire was the only time in seven career starts the Medaglia d'Oro colt finished off the board, having started his 3-year-old campaign with a win in the Grade 2 San Felipe on March 10 at Santa Anita and running second to Triple Crown-threat Justify in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on April 7 in California.

"We think this race is good because he'll make a really good stallion and people on the East Coast really like to see if they have speed and stamina, so I thought it was a good spot for him," trainer Mick Ruis said by phone Wednesday morning.

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Breaking from post 11 in the Derby, Bolt d'Oro was forced into a wide trip and stayed close until the far turn but wilted in the stretch on the sloppy and sealed Churchill Downs track. Ruis said the rest, along with the cutback from running 1 ΒΌ miles, could be beneficial for the Kentucky-bred.

"You'd think it'd help. We wanted to give him a little bit of time after the Derby," Ruis said. "He came back good. He just didn't like the slop and he was in the real heavy part of the track, going six-wide. We'll find out when he runs on it how he likes the track [at Belmont]."

The Derby marked the first time Bolt d'Oro raced out of California, having won his first two races, including the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity and the Grade 1 FrontRunner, before capping his 2-year-old campaign by running third in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Bolt d'Oro is currently training at Keeneland, where Ruis said he is scheduled to breeze on Monday and again on Sunday, June 3. Ruis said he is scheduled to ship to New York on the same plane as Justify on June 6.

"We're going to fly him in on the sixth on the same flight as Justify," Ruis said. "He ships fine. He's such a good-minded horse."

Mind Your Biscuits to run in G1 Met Mile on Belmont Stakes Day

Mind Your Biscuits, the two-time $2 million Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen winner is pointed towards his third start of the year in the Met Mile, one of six Grade 1 stakes on the Belmont Stakes Day undercard on Saturday, June 9.

The 5-year-old son of Posse will return to the Belmont main track this Friday morning to add his third workout since returning from a few weeks of freshening at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland. Last Friday, Mind Your Biscuits worked five furlongs in 1:02.55 over the training track listed as good with jockey Joel Rosario in the irons. It was the second work since his return to Belmont after he galloped a strong four furlongs in 46.98 over the main track listed as fast on May 11.

"We decided to go over to the training track," Summers said. "It was more of a maintenance breeze more than anything, maybe a little more than a two-minute lick around. He went with Joel, nice and easy. It sets us up nice this Friday. This will be his big work leading up to the race."

The multiple graded stakes winner is coming off his second Dubai victory, this time remaining at Meydan Racecourse for a week after he thrilled his fans with a determined last-to-first finish to win by a head. Mind Your Biscuits then flew to Chicago, and vanned to Maryland where he was given some time off.

Mind Your Biscuits owns victories in the Grade 2 Amsterdam at Saratoga, Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita, and Grade 2 Belmont Sprint Championship, and topped Funny Cide as the leading money winning New York-bred with his 2018 win in Dubai.

Wilkes-trained McCraken seeks G1 victory in Met Mile

Churchill Downs-based McCraken, who lost last summer's Grade 1 Haskell by a nose, will pursue gaining that Grade 1 victory in the $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day, June 9.

McCraken, a 4-year-old by Ghostzapper, won his first four starts before finishing third in the 2017 Grade 2 Blue Grass and eighth in that year's Kentucky Derby. He rebounded to take the Grade 3 Matt Winn at Churchill, followed by the nose defeat in the Haskell to Girvin. He followed with a seventh-place finish in the Grade 1 Travers at Saratoga Race Course.

McCraken got time off after finishing third against older horses in the Grade 2 Hagyard Fayette, returning to racing six months later to capture an allowance race on Kentucky Derby Day last out on May 5.

"The Met Mile is such a prestigious race, it would be nice for this horse's resume if I can get that accomplished," said trainer Ian Wilkes. "The horse is doing great. He's done nothing but go forward since that race, so I'm very happy with him. The break was a little longer than I planned, but that was the horse. He wanted it. He told me how much time he needed and now we're back to business and he's doing extremely well.

"This is more for the horse. We just got beat in the Haskell, and that was a Grade 1. If we can come back in this and do well, it gives him a Grade 1 and then we can work on trying to pick out a few more Grade 1s for him."

Wilkes said McCraken's forte appears to be a mile, and he'll be pointed toward the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs in November. "The horse can run a mile and an eighth, too," he said. "But I think I might just concentrate on a mile. The horse has a great turn-of-foot. That's the key to it."

Wilkes said he also plans to run Nessy in the Grade 2, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup contested at two miles on the turf on June 8, while Giant Payday is a possibility for the Grade 2, $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational at 1 1/2 miles on dirt on June 9.

"Nessy's really gotten into a nice niche, a nice rhythm," Wilkes said. "And he's developing. The farther they go, the better he gets. Giant Payday, this is a new dimension for him, so we'll have to see if he likes it, a mile and a half on dirt. As long as he relaxes early and doesn't get too rank, we'll be fine."

Awesome Slew looking to build on his strong start in Met Mile

Live Oak Plantation's Awesome Slew has continued to train well ahead of the Grade 1, $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap on June 9, Casse said.

The 4-year-old son of Awesome Again breezed four furlongs in 47 seconds on Churchill's main track Sunday, looking to build on his strong start this year that started with a runner-up finish to Army Mule in the Grade 1 Carter on April 7 at Aqueduct Racetrack and third last out in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs on May 5.

Awesome Slew will be stretching out to a one-turn mile, where Casse said the Florida homebred might be at his best. He also will look to improve from his fourth-place finish in last year's Met Mile edition.

"The Met Mile is such a special race. We know it'll be extremely tough, but we'll give it a shot," Casse said. "I think the mile is his perfect distance. My only concern is that he didn't handle Belmont, the track, as well as I would have liked, so that's a little bit of a concern. We're going to chalk it up to having on off day and try again."

Awesome Slew has finished in the money in his last six starts, spanning five different tracks including Churchill, Aqueduct, Del Mar, Saratoga and Belmont, leaving Casse impressed with his ability to acclimate.

"He's such a smart, talented horse," Casse said. "He says 'put me in and send me in the right direction and I'll show up.'"

One Liner has chance to give Todd Pletcher third Grade 1 Met Mile victory

Already a two-time winner, trainer Todd Pletcher looks to complete a personal hat trick when he sends out One Liner for the Grade 1, $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap on Saturday's Belmont Stakes undercard.

Pletcher, who won the Met Mile with Palace Malice in 2014 and Quality Road in 2010, threw One Liner into this year's mix following a half-mile workout in 50.87 seconds June 1 over Belmont Park's main track.

It was the only work for WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International, Head of Plains Partners and SF Racing's One Liner since dead-heating for second behind Irish War Cry in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special May 18.

"We were keeping an eye on it and it seemed like he breezed well," Pletcher said. "We feel like the turnback in distance might suit him, so we decided to go ahead and give it a shot."

In the Pimlico Special, contested over 1 3/16 miles on a sloppy, sealed track at Pimlico Race Course, One Liner chased the front-running winner along the inside and was put to task through the lane, holding on to hit the wire together with fellow Grade 3 winner Untrapped.

"I thought he ran a solid race," Pletcher said. "He just needed Irish War Cry to come back a little bit and he didn't, but I thought he made a good account of himself. They were tough conditions, but he handled it well."

Never worse than third in six starts, One Liner opened his career with three straight wins capped by the Grade 3 Southwest in February 2017 before going to the sidelines. He went nearly a year between races, returning to run third February 9 in a seven-furlong optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Park, five lengths behind runner-up Mind Your Biscuits, also exiting a layoff.

One Liner preceded the Pimlico Special with a front-running win as the favorite in a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance April 21 at Keeneland. As of Monday morning, Pletcher was waiting to settle on a rider for the Met Mile. Entries will be taken and post positions drawn on Tuesday.

"He's been versatile enough. I think he's shown that he can run well at one turn and two. We just felt like it was an opportunity for him to give it a try," Pletcher said. "We were kind of looking at the Met Mile or the [Grade 1] Stephen Foster [June 16 at Churchill Downs] and we felt like he's here, he's doing well at the moment and sometimes you get a big effort on the cutback.

"The Met Mile is a prestigious race and he's a horse that has some stallion potential," he added. "A race like that would hopefully take it to another level."

About the Metropolitan Handicap (Met Mile)

The Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, frequently referred to as the "Met Mile", is held annually during the last week of May at Belmont Park in New York. The race, first run in 1891, is open to horses aged 3 years and up and brings with it a sizable purse of $1,250,000. Along with the Brooklyn Handicap and the Suburban Handicap, the race is part of the New York Handicap Triple, a set of three races for older Thoroughbreds. All three races take place at Belmont Park.

The Metropolitan Handicap had its first running in 1891 at Morris Park and is popularly known as the "Met Mile." The Metropolitan Handicap was run at Morris Park 1891-1904 and at Aqueduct 1960-67, 1969, and in 1975. Not run in 1895, 1911 and 1912. Run at 1 1/8 miles prior to 1897. Dead heat for win in 1905. Equipoise finished first in 1934, but was disqualified. The running of that race was part of the popular Broadway play "Three Men on a Horse."

In its long history, dozens of Metropolitan Handicap entries and winners have gone on to achieve great fame in the horse racing community. Past winners include Grey Lag (1923 winner and 1957 Hall of Fame inductee), Devil Driver (3 time race winner and 1977 Hall of Fame inductee), and Native Dancer (1954 winner and top 10 Racehorse of the 20th Century).

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