05/26/2008 12:11PM

Met Mile Card


As you may have guessed from my absence here since Friday evening, and the lack of sightings from commenters monitoring my Furlong Frank consumption, I've been goofing off and enjoying the glorious weather in my backyard this holiday weekend instead of slaving over the races at Belmont. The revised plan was to compensate with a full, 11-race outing to the old horse park today, but after some slaving on the Met Mile Card last night I'm in no hurry to get out there. The pick-six with $238k double-carry doesn't start until the 6th at 3:40, and there's not much worth seeing all day until they run at Met at 5:49.

Every other race on the card is for maidens (4), claimers (4), statebreds (5) or some overlapping permutation thereof, with 7 of the 10 on the turf including two statebred turf sprints. There's no other stakes race on the undercard, nor even a single open allowance race. After the $600k Met, the $52k statebred N2x and the $50k statebred N1x are the richest events of the day.

There was a time when such a Memorial Day parade of mediocrity would have been unthinkable for a major holiday card at Belmont, but it's not as if they could have put on a bunch of better races with comparable fields and chose not to: You write races for the horses you have on the grounds. NYRA has made the most of its horse population with a raft of new race conditions over the last few years, creating more opportunities for the hundreds of statebred maidens and 1-for-lifers populating the backstretch: The pick-six races have fields of 13, 15, 11, 10, 9 and 12. This is what we've got these days, even on what's supposed to be a special day.

I'm still wrestling with how seriously to play the pick-six, given the two statebred turf sprints in the sequence and the regrettable positioning of the only race with firsters as the finale in the sequence. If I do pull the trigger, I'm going to be going only one or two deep in the Met itself, not only because the other races require so much spreading but also because it sure looks on paper like Commentator or Divine Park should win. I prefer Commentator, whose outside draw gives him options with Kiss The Kid the only other real speed in a pretty paceless lineup. He's the only G1 winner in the field (the '05 Whitney over Horse of the Year Saint Liam), and I'm pretty sure he's the only only racehorse this decade other than Ghostzapper to fire three Beyers of 119 or higher in his career. With just 17 starts in six years on the treack, he's obviously got his problems, but when he's right he's brilliant and he's been as right as ever as a 7-year-old this year.

Divine Park has returned to the form that won him the Withers in his third career start last year and comes off an explosive, career-best performance in the Westchester, where he scorched a mile in 1:32.70 on opening day at Belmont April 30. It gets pretty thin beyond him with the possible exception of First Defence, a fine second to Hard Spun in the King's Bishop last August (though Hard Spun did all the dirty work that day) an a winner of his 4-year-old debut despite being pressed every step.

Ah, late scratches are up. Time for another cup of coffee and further reflection.

GunBow More than 1 year ago
Technically, Kona Gold did not run three 119 Beyers in the 2000s, but after running a 123 in the 99' BC Sprint, he ran a 119 in both 00' and 01', for three 119+ figs in the career of the 2000 sprint champion.
grasslover More than 1 year ago
Blue Horseshoe--Just read your blog on the other page about the Met Mile--good stuff full of thought-provoking insight! I watched the race here at RD and never did see a final time, so I thought it looked a bit unusual. Thanks for the heads-up!
mark c More than 1 year ago
shut up? apparently stefan has no clue about the "game" the trainers and owners of NY breds play every day it's called " please run second"! it is played because a horse with a beyer top of 55 doesn't want to ever leave NY bred NW1 allowance
Stewart More than 1 year ago
Tim: McCans Mohave??!! Horse of the Year??!! Curlin's chief opposition??!! Please tell me that you're kidding. Pull up his career PP's, at which point you'll discover that he's almost always been trounced whenever facing a decent grades stakes field. A nice Cal. Bred, especially in short field California races, but come on.... Besides, he couldn't get the 1 1/4 miles of the Classic unless they drove him in a van.
kevroc More than 1 year ago
RIP Clem Florio. Also, $25 for the horseplayer's coalition, $25 for the poker players alliance... It's costing me money to defend the right to lose more money!
Sean O More than 1 year ago
Any word on starters for Belmont Day? Two other Grade Is and 3 grade 2s should make for a heckuva card. Id like to see Einstein & Indian Blessing.
Blue Blinkers More than 1 year ago
The "cholesterol police" have noted that this week is customer appreciation week at Belmont with $1 hot dogs on Thursday and Friday. Hence, maybe that will cause Steve to venture to the track for his weekly dog and even better, to post some good picks here for Belmont on Thursday and Friday, to go along with the $1 hot dog! :)
grasslover More than 1 year ago
I just looked at the Met Mile chart and realized that the last quarter was run in 27:1. Can this be at all possible? Anybody have any good ideas as to how this happened?
kelso13 More than 1 year ago
Oh,Oh!Big Brown-quarter crack.Just what I have been fearing.B.B.either does not run or runs poorly and is never seen on a racetrack again.Rick Dutrow and his hoof expert will earn their money now.Here's hoping that they can have him ready for a top performance.Also,R.I.P. Clem Florio,one of the best of the early public handicappers and a Maryland fixture for many years.
Matt Harper More than 1 year ago
I live in Henderson, KY. Home of Ellis Park. Don't look forward to the Ellis meet this year fellas. The first week of the live meet will overlap with Churchill Downs. After Churchill closes the horses will either ship to Arlington, Saratoga, or Indiana Downs. Indiana Downs now has slots and $5,000 claimers will be running for a $13,000 purse, whereas, $5,000 claimers at Ellis will be running for $7,500. Also, there is a Union strike (tellers) that won't be resolved by then. The owner, Ron Geary, has rubbed more than one horseman the wrong way by closing the track and barns for the entire year and won't open them up until June 15th. Here is what you have to look forward to this year at Ellis Park. 9 races a day with the average field size of 5.7. Hollywood Park closes forever this summer and it is replaced with Ellis Park. Also, the post time for Ellis is at 12:30 p.m. The hottest part of the day and the heat index around then is usually near 100 degrees! Good luck, and one more thing...The pick four takeout will be raised to 25 percent to offset taxes imposed by the govenor to ensure revenue from Ellis since its owner couldn't guarantee to meet the requirements of daily handle.