04/15/2011 4:38PM

Met Mile at Belmont a possibility for Rodman

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Rodman, who returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since December 2009 on Thursday with a 3 1/2-length score in the Irish Tower Stakes at Aqueduct, could be pointed to the Grade 1, $500,000 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont on May 30, trainer Mike Hushion said Friday.

Rodman, a 6-year-old son of Malibu Moon, went gate to wire under Ramon Dominguez running fractions of 24.19 seconds, 47.39, and 1:10.79 for six furlongs before completing the mile in 1:34.71 while under a hand ride. He earned a 98 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.

Rodman was making just his second start since winning the Grade 3 Queens County Handicap over Aqueduct’s inner rack on Dec. 12, 2009. He missed the all of 2010 due to a foot problem and then an illness.

Rodman returned to the races on Feb. 18, finishing second to a loose-on-the-lead Hewitts in a third-level allowance race.

“I didn’t know what to expect with a 6-year-old horse coming off a year layoff,’’ Hushion said. “He worked sharper for this race than he did his last race. Maybe that first one was a wake-up call.’’

Hushion said there aren’t many options for Rodman. The Grade 3, $100,000 Westchester on April 30 comes back too quick. Pimlico hosts the Grade 3, $100,000 William Donald Schaefer on Preakness Day, May 21. That is less appealing because Rodman can get worked up and obviously there will be a big crowd in Baltimore that day.

Also, Hushion said if Rodman is ready to fire a big race in his third start off a layoff he would rather do it in a race as prestigious as the Met Mile.

◗ General Maximus, who won the Hudson Stakes for New York-breds last October, drilled five furlongs in an eye-catching 59.26 seconds Friday morning over the Belmont Park training track. It was the fastest of 13 works at the distance. General Maximus, who finished fourth in an allowance race at Gulfstream in February, is pointing for a race early in the Belmont Park