Updated on 09/16/2011 8:27AM

Met Mile field: It's all good

Crafty C. T. (left) and D'wildcat run one-two in a March 2 allowance at Santa Anita. They ship in from California for Monday's Met Mile.

ELMONT, N.Y. - The field for Monday's $750,000 is so strong that Bob Hess Jr., trainer of D'wildcat, called it "an honor" just to be in the race.

The 109th running of the Met Mile features four Grade 1 winners (Left Bank, Affirmed Success, Swept Overboard, and Burning Roma), three Grade 2 winners (Grey Memo, Crafty C. T. and D'wildcat), and the dangerous Bobby Frankel-trained Aldebaran. Wake at Noon, a Grade 3 winner, and the graded stakes placed duo of Dayton Flyer and Voodoo complete the 11-horse field.

"I think it's loaded," said Todd Pletcher, trainer of probable favorite Left Bank. "You can make a case for everybody. It's one of those races where there are so many good horses it'd be hard to identify one as the horse to beat."

Left Bank is probably that horse. Since finishing eighth in last year's Met Mile - a race from which he emerged with a splint bone injury - Left Bank has won 4 of 6 starts, including the Grade 1 Vosburgh and Grade 1 Cigar Mile.

A bruised foot delayed Left Bank's return to the races this year until May 11, when he won the Bold Ruler Handicap. That he comes back in just 16 days could be of some concern to bettors, but it is no big deal to Pletcher. As a 3-year-old, in June 2000, Left Bank won a third-level allowance race at Belmont - earning a then career-high 107 Beyer Speed Figure - 18 days after he won a second-level allowance race.

"If I had to pick one horse out of the barn to run back in 16 days, he'd be the one," Pletcher said. "He's a 5-year-old; he carries a lot of weight. I thought the race the other day was solid, but I think he won with something left."

Left Bank, who is 5 for 7 at Belmont, is the starting highweight at 121 pounds, and he will break from post 4 under John Velazquez, who has won two of the last six Met Miles.

Affirmed Success is also 5 for 7 at Belmont. An amazing 8-year-old gelding, Affirmed Success seems to be in the best form of his career, coming off wins in the Carter and Toboggan handicaps. Should he win, Affirmed Success will become the oldest horse to win the Met, surpassing the achievements of Stymie and Forego, who both won the race at age 7.

The Met features four horses shipping in from California, and a win by any of them would not be a surprise. California shippers have enjoyed success in this race, with In Excess, Ibero, and Wild Rush having won the Met since 1991.

Crafty C. T. may be the strongest of the California contingent and could be the speed of this field. Last year, as a 3-year-old, Crafty C. T. won the San Rafael at a mile before finishing second to Point Given in the Santa Anita Derby. Since then, he's raced only three times, and defeated D'wildcat in a March 2 allowance race at Santa Anita in his last start.

"As much as I didn't like the way he looked going into the Santa Anita Derby is as much as I like the way he looks going into this race," trainer Howard Zucker said. "He looks great. He worked here the other day and he seemed to like this track."

D'wildcat ran the race of his life winning last year's Grade 3 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park. He has had only three races since, and is coming off a victory via disqualification in the Churchill Downs Handicap.

"`He hasn't run his 'A' race yet; he's been in the 'B-plus' range at best," Hess said. "But, I think you're going to see really close to his 'A' race on Monday. I think he loves these East Coast tracks. He loved Gulfstream, it's a deeper surface, and I think he's going to love Belmont."

Grey Memo, who won the Grade 2 Godolphin Mile in Dubai in March, and Swept Overboard, who won the Grade 1 Ancient Title last October, arrived from California Saturday morning after twice having their flight canceled.

With Aldebaran, Frankel could win his third Met Mile. On a speed-favoring, sloppy Keeneland surface, Aldebaran finished a fast-closing second behind Orientate in the Grade 2 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup Handicap. Jerry Bailey, a three-time Met winner, has the call from post 10.

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