Updated on 09/15/2011 12:17PM

Great story brewing in Met Mile


ELMONT, N.Y. - The Metropolitan Handicap was the feature when Belmont Park opened on May 4, 1905; it brought the crowd to its feet when the 3-year-old Sysonby, regarded as one of the greatest horses in American racing history, dead-heated with the 4-year-old Race King, to whom Sysonby conceded 10 pounds of actual weight.

C.V. Whitney's Equipoise earned a rousing ovation in 1933 when he won the Metropolitan for the second consecutive year under Sonny Workman. Equipoise was conceding 26 pounds to the runner-up, Okapi.

Tom Fool, in the midst of his brilliant 4-year-old season of 1953 when he won all 10 of his starts, captured the Metropolitan under 130 pounds to beat the hard-hitting Royal Vale.

A disappointment in the Kentucky Derby of 1994, the magnificent Holy Bull rebounded to beat older horses in the Metropolitan Handicap, en route to Horse of the Year honors.

The Met has been the source of more provocative racing stories than any other race of its kind, with the possible exception of the Santa Anita Handicap. That tradition will be upheld Monday if Peeping Tom, owned by Flatbird Stable, wins. A $40,000 claim last year, the gelded son of the Danzig stallion Eagle Eyed, got good last fall. He has won all four of his starts this season, including the historic Toboggan Handicap and the Grade 1 Carter at Aqueduct, and he will be topweight in a highly competitive field which includes Traditionally, the Grade 1 Oaklawn Handicap winner, and Trippi, who won the Grade 1 Vosburgh last fall.

Peeping Tom is the first horse owned by Louis Milazzo, a securities dealer from Riverdale, N.Y. His daughter-in-law, Danielle Milazzo, a product services representative for Daily Racing Form, is a keen student of pedigree. She knew Peeping Tom is related to the stakes-winning Harpia and the highly successful stallion Danehill, and alerted her father-in-law. When Peeping Tom made his second start, he was claimed for Milazzo by trainer Patrick Reynolds

"He showed promise," Reynolds recalled the other day, "but he `began to turn the corner last fall. We were encouraged to try him in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct and he was a good second to El Corredor. This season he's shown even more improvement. He's got great acceleration. He finished very strongly to win the General George at Laurel and the Carter. He's got his ways. He doesn't like to train in the morning but he makes up for it in the afternoons."

Reynolds came on the racetrack in the early 1970's, landing a job with Elliott Burch at a time when Burch had such outstanding horses for Paul Mellon as Summer Guest and Key to the Mint. He went off on his own with a small stable in the mid-1970's but wasn't making the progress he expected. He left the racetrack for a career in gardening and landscaping.

Reynolds returned to racing in 1988, assisting an old friend, Bill Badgett. A year later he took out a license and launched a public stable that has prospered. He has 26 horses in his barn now and one of them, Peeping Tom, may make history Monday in the Metropolitan.