05/11/2017 5:05PM

Early Met Mile preview

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I always look forward to the Metropolitan Handicap. 
 
Formerly the jewel of the Memorial Day weekend at Belmont Park, the Met Mile was moved to the Belmont Stakes undercard in 2014 and has continued to feature some of the best middle-distance dirt horses in the world. 
 
Palace Malice, winner of the Belmont Stakes the year prior, grabbed the Met Mile in 2014 to complete a four-race win streak as well as a seven-start stretch in which he received Beyer Speed Figures of 102 or higher (Palace Malice earned a 112 Beyer in the Metropolitan). 
 
The Met Mile was even stronger in 2015 as Honor Code outfinshed Belmont winner Tonalist and the crack sprinter Private Zone. The horse that finished last in the 2015 Met was none other than Breeders' Cup Classic hero Bayern. 
 
Last year was a one-horse race, but what a horse! Frosted won by 14 1/4 lengths and pocketed a 123 Beyer, the fastest number of the year. 
 
This year's edition is shaping up as a highly-competitive heat. MOR SPIRIT, featured in the March 23, 2017 edition of FormBlog (http://www.drf.com/blogs/mor-spirit-back-form), made his final prep last Sunday in the Grade 3 Steve Sexton Mile at Lone Star Park. 
 
Sent off the prohibitive 2 to 5 favorite, Mor Spirit took no prisoners under Mike Smith. He went right to the front and set a comfortable opening quarter of 24.14 before facing some pace pressure from AMERICAN DUBAI. That one called it quits after a half in 47.04 and Mor Spirit began to extend. He scored by 5 3/4 lengths, stopped the clock in 1:36.86 and received a 107 Beyer.
 
Even with the Baffert-trainee's big performance in Texas, the current horse to beat in the Met is Chad Brown's CONNECT, who captured his seasonal debut in the local prep, the Grade 3 Westchester Stakes. 
 
 
Connect came into his own last fall. First, he beat such notables as GUN RUNNER, Nyquist and Exaggerator in the nine-furlong Pennsylvania Derby. Then, he dug down deep to deny DIVINING ROD in the prestigious Cigar Mile at Aqueduct. Connect has now won 6 of his last 7 races (with the one defeat coming in Arrogate's Travers) and has earned Beyers of 105 or greater in his last three starts. 
 
Both Mor Spirit and Connect look like major Met Mile players. They are worth following for the rest of the year as well.
 
*The hearty 6-year-old ALERT BAY won't run in the Met, but he's one to consider in races like the Longacres Mile later this year at Emerald Downs. Trained by Blaine Wright, Alert Bay won the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile for the second consecutive year and has come back as good as new at the age of six. The millionaire has prevailed on turf, dirt and synthetic and boasts a strong tactical gear. 
 
 
***
 
For free video analysis of some of the weekend's major stakes races, take a look at http://video.drf.com/
 
Please watch "Out of the Gate," a handicapping program that previews the weekend's best races. This week, we cover graded stakes races at Belmont and Santa Anita. 
 
"Out of the Gate" will premiere at 12:30 p.m. ET at live.drf.com and will also be available on demand at video.drf.com as well as Daily Racing Form's YouTube and Facebook pages. An audio podcast version will also be available on iTunes and SoundCloud. 
 
I'll be on with Mike Beer and Matt Bernier and will be joined by DRF Breeding's Nicole Russo, noted tournament player Jonathon Kinchen and Timeform US handicapper and figure-maker Craig Milkowski.
 
You can check me out on Twitter @DRF_Dan Illman.
 
For up-to-date video releases from DRF, follow DRFTV on Twitter @DRFvideo.
 
***
 
Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 5/3/17 - 5/9/17
 
1. TU BRUTUS (CHI) - 109 - Flat Out Stakes - 1 3/8 Miles - 7May17-3BEL
2. CONNECT - 107 - (G3) Westchester Stakes - 1 Mile - 6May17-10BEL
3. MOR SPIRIT - 107 - (G3) Steve Sexton Mile - 1 Mile - 7May17-8LS 
4. DANZING CANDY - 105 - OC 75k/N3X -N - 1 Mile - 5May17-8SA 
4. PAPA SHOT - 105 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 6May17-9BEL
4. ROY H - 105 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 6May17-2SA 
4. SEA CALISI (FR) - 105 - (G3) Sheepshead Bay Stakes - 1 3/8 Miles (Turf) - 6May17-4BEL
8. DIVISIDERO - 103 - (G1) Woodford Reserve Turf Classic - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 6May17-11CD
8. ROCA ROJO (IRE) - 103 - (G2) Churchill Distaff Turf Mile - 1 Mile (Turf) - 6May17-7CD 
10. ALWAYS DREAMING - 102 - (G1) - Kentucky Derby - 1 1/4 Miles - 6May17-12CD 
10. BY THE MOON - 102 - (G2) Vagrancy Handicap - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 5May17-7BEL
10. GREEN MASK - 102 - (G3) Twin Spires Turf Sprint - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 5May17-7CD 
10. PINK LLOYD - 102 - New Providence Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Tapeta) - 6May17-8WO 
14. LIMOUSINE LIBERAL - 101 - (G2) Churchill Downs Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 6May17-10CD
14. TOMBELAINE - 101 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 7 Furlongs (Turf) - 7May17-6BEL
16. BIRD SONG - 100 - (G2) Alysheba Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - 5May17-6CD 
17. PLEUVEN (FR) - 99 - Opening Verse Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - 4May17-9CD 
18. PULLING G'S - 98 - Clm 50000 - 6 Furlongs - 3May17-4BEL
18. SEYMOURDINI - 98 - OC 32k/N3X -N - 1 Mile - 6May17-2LRL
18. STALLWALKIN' DUDE - 98 - Diablo Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 7May17-8BEL
21. CONQUEST TYPHOON - 96 - OC 80k/N3X -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 4May17-3BEL
21. ROMAN APPROVAL - 96 - OC c-62k/N2X - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - 3May17-8BEL
23. BROKEN ENGAGEMENT - 95 - Md Sp Wt 62k - 1 1/16 Miles - 6May17-3BEL
23. COMMUTE - 95 - OC 80k/C -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Tapeta) - 7May17-9WO 
23. GYPSUM JOHNNY - 95 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 7 Furlongs - 4May17-8BEL
23. PAULASSILVERLINING - 95 - (G1) Humana Distaff - 7 Furlongs - 6May17-6CD 
23. VALE DORI (ARG) - 95 - (G3) Adoration Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - 7May17-5SA 
 
*Tu Brutus' lifetime past performances available at the bottom of this blog post.
 
*Roman Approval was claimed for $62,500 by trainer David Cannizzo from Michael Maker.
 
***
 
Congrats to GBL for winning the most recent HandiGambling challenge.
 
Rick M and SR VEGAS' HG scoreboard spreadsheet is available at the bottom of this blog post. 
 
Let's go with Saturday's Hanshin Cup at Arlington for this week's exercise. 
 
PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.
 
SR Vegas and Rick M. have graciously decided to update all of the HG rules in order to make them an easier read for everyone...
 
HANDIGAMBLING version 2016:
 
Let's remember WHY we began the HandiGambling races in the first place.
The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses and why we're betting them the way we are. We are not asking for a novel but SPARE A SENTENCE OR TWO outlining your HANDICAPPING ANGLES and/or THOUGHT PROCESSES about WAGERING.
 
1. Start your post with HG or HANDIGAMBLING to find your entry in a thread.
2. You have a mythical $100 to wager in whatever format you choose that is available for that HG race. Anyone going over the $100 limit will be DISQUALIFIED.
3. Post your WAGER and ANALYSIS to the blog prior to the start of the designated race. SIGN OFF WITH YOUR NAME/OR MONIKER AT THE END OF YOUR POST. Remember that posts may start as 'anonymous' or an 'alternate name'. You MUST SIGN YOURSELF AT THE END (even if it is the same) This enables the scorekeeper to identify who you are.
4. (1) ONE ENTRY per person for the Handigambling contest. If you have multiple email addresses, use just ONE for contest purposes. Multiple entries will be cause for disqualification.
5. Separate your analysis from the wager and use the PROGRAM # in your wager. Just like you would do in a real wager. No horse names.
6. If any of the rules listed above aren't met, the wager is subject to review which can lead to disqualification of your entry.
 
In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. Dan reserves the right to approve or deny any entries.
The winner will receive a "60-Card Quarterly Formulator Past Performance Plan"
 
As an example :
 
HG 2016
The speed in this race are #1 Alpha, #2 Beta, and #8 Ocho. I like the works for layoff horse #5 Cinco who can sit off the pace. Lots of speed in here, so this could set up for a closer like  #6 Six Flags and I like the trainer's stats in these conditions. I’ll put the closer over the speed.
 
HG wager:
$10 EX   6 /   1,2,5, 8  = $40
$5 TRI   6 /   1,2,5,8  /  1,2,5,8  =  $60
Total $100
Thanks Dan!
Harpo
 
A MORE DETAILED ANALYSIS  IS  ALWAYS  APPRECIATED !
REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE; PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE.
 
ALSO, IF THE WINNER WOULD LIKE TO SELECT THE FOLLOWING WEEK'S RACE, PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM NO LATER THAN THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY MORNING (A SATURDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL)

 

AttachmentSize
TU BRUTUS.pdf838.27 KB
Copy of HG 5 6 17 KY DERBY.xls51.5 KB
HG 5 6 17 KY DERBY Notes.doc36 KB
HGHANSHIN.pdf198.59 KB