06/08/2017 8:36AM

Met Mile still a source of successful stallions

Barbara D. Livingston
Frosted wins the 2016 Metropolitan Handicap by 14 1/4 lengths.

The Grade 1, $1.2 million Metropolitan Handicap has a history of being a stallion-making race because it showcases the brilliance that is so desired in the American market.

The most recent case in point came last year, when Frosted romped by 14 1/4 lengths in the sparkling time of 1:32.73, earning the year’s highest Beyer Speed Figure, a 123. With that signature performance on a résumé that included four other graded or group wins, Frosted commanded a fee of $50,000 at Darley in his first season at stud, making him the highest-priced newcomer in a class that also included champions California Chrome and Nyquist.

“His Metropolitan Handicap was one for the ages, and add to that his great pedigree and tremendous physical appearance, and you’ve got all the pieces in place for a sire of the future,” said Dan Pride, chief operating officer of Darley’s American operations.

Two runners in this year’s Metropolitan field, the graded-stakes winners Tom’s Ready and Mohaymen, both have secured futures at stud at major Kentucky farms. Spendthrift Farm secured the future rights to GMB Racing’s Tom’s Ready, by More Than Ready, shortly after he rolled in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens last year at Belmont. Mohaymen, a son of leading sire Tapit, was purchased as a yearling by Shadwell Farm and presumably will stand for the operation upon his retirement.

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The Met Mile has been won through its 123-year history by prominent stallions such as Tom Fool (1953), Native Dancer (1954), and Buckpasser (1967). A Grade 1 race since the North American graded-stakes system began in 1973, it has been won more recently by prominent sires Tentam (1973), Cox’s Ridge (1978), Fappiano (1981), Gulch (1987-88), and Ghostzapper (2005).

The race has continued to produce good young sires in recent years, including Quality Road (2010), the sire of this year’s Kentucky Oaks winner, Abel Tasman, and Shackleford (2012), who will have a first-crop Belmont Stakes starter in Meantime.

Medaglia d’Oro a ladies’ man

Two-time Eclipse Award champion Songbird will be making her highly anticipated 2017 debut on Belmont Stakes Day, flying in from her California base for the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Stakes.

Songbird is among the latest standouts for the outstanding filly sire Medaglia d’Oro, but believe it or not, she didn’t earn the top Beyer Speed Figure of 2016 among his progeny. That distinction belongs to Bar of Gold, who is lying in wait in her home state of New York for the Phipps.

Bar of Gold earned a Beyer of 109 for her 18-length victory in the Empire Distaff at Belmont. That was the third-highest figure of the year for a filly or mare, with Stellar Wind and Beholder both awarded a 110 for their duel in the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes. Songbird, who won four Grade 1 events in 2016, suffered her first loss when second by a nose to Beholder in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff but earned her top Beyer of the year, a 105.

The top Beyer earned by a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro in 2017 is the 100 posted by the streaking Dickinson when she defeated Lady Eli in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland. Dickinson has a chance to make it a major weekend for her sire when she faces Celestine and Roca Rojo in the Grade 1 Just a Game Stakes on the Saturday card.

Standout females by Darley sire Medaglia d’Oro include Hall of Fame racemare Rachel Alexandra, Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty, and Grade 1 winners Champagne d’Oro, Gabby’s Golden Gal, and Marketing Mix.