The 121st running of the Metropolitan Mile will take place outside of its traditional spot of Memorial Day. Instead it will be the 9th race of a mega 10 stakes Belmont Stakes card. It will also serve as the second leg of the all-important pick 4, and the third leg of the pick 6. So lets take a look at some of the 13 horse field that can take down top prize in dirt mile race worth $1.25 million
(1) Palace Malice – If Palace Malice runs a race reminiscent of his last two, then this will be a race for second. Despite drawing the 1 post, which can be a bit daunting in a Grade 1 mile, Palice Malice has shown that he is not the type of horse who will get bullied out of the position he wants. In the New Orleans Handicap earlier this year, he floated Normandy Invasion; (who will be coming out of post 9 Saturday), 7-8 wide, before pouring it on to win by more than four lengths. Palice Malice will be a deserving favorite but at a short price. He will start with morning line odds of 8-5. However, a Grade 1, 13-horse field, especially one like the storied Met Mile, leaves open the possibility of a very capable horse taking down the top spot at a nice price.
(4) Goldencents – Last year the son of Into Mischief had a big three-year-old season. Part owned by Louisville Cardinal’s basketball head coach Rick Pitino, Goldencents won the Santa Anita Derby on the same day, Louisville qualified for the Championship game. After a tough showing in the Triple Crown, trainer Doug O’Neil shortened him up to sprint distances before stretching him out to a mile in the Breeders Cup. The move paid off as Goldnecents benefited from a speed-favoring track to win the big race. The win proved Goldensents has the ability tomorrow, however his best races are run in the Golden State.
(5) Moreno – Moreno stepped up last year in winning the Dwyer at Belmont, but really impressed when he almost took them all the way at 31-1 in the Travers Stakes last year. Since then he has not lived up to that race, but the distance drop for the hard running son of Ghostazapper may fit this horse perfectly. Trainer Eric Guillot takes blinkers off this horse for the first time in eight races, which may cause concern. Nevertheless, the third race off the layoff, coupled with the distance drop and a 2/2 record at Belmont is encouraging.
(6) Central Banker – was all out and really game in winning the Churchill Downs Sprint on Derby day. The only race he has run poorly on dirt in the last year was a very oddly run G1 Carter Handicap, at Aqueduct. On that day the Grade 1 Carter featured unusually slow fractions, which may have compromised Central Bankers strong closing kick. However before his last race at Churchill, Central Banker was working lights out, firing three bullets in a row, including a 1/84. Since then he has had 3 somewhat flatter works, so I would play him cautiously.
(12) Romansh – One horse in this field that has a legitimate chance at running a big race at a nice price is the Romansh. Owned by Godophin Stables, the four-year-old son of Bernardini possess to ability to run a winning race on Saturday. Jockey Joes Ortiz has been aboard Romansh for his two best efforts; the first was in the Discovery Handicap last November, and the other was the Excelsior in March. Both those races earned Romansh nice Beyer’s of 106 and 110 respectively. Romansh is 15-1 in the morning line and very likely to go off at a square price at post-time.
(13) Shakin It Up –In the Churchill Downs Sprint, Central Banker turned the tables on Shakin it up. Toward the end of 2013, Bob Bafferts’ three-year-old son of Midnight Lute took the G1 Malibu Stakes over Central Banker. Their last race deepened that rivalry when Central Banker refused to let Shakin It Up get the nose on the wire at Churchill. This time Baffert will shake up jockeys when he replaces Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith with the ice veined Rosie Napravnik.
The Field for the Metropolitan Mile
Post time 4:48
1 Palice Malice (8-5)
2 Vyjack (30-1)
3 Scarly Charly (50-1)
4 Goldencents (10-1)
5 Moreno (10-1)
6 Central Banker (8-1)
7 Capo Bastone (30-1)
8 Declan’s Warrior (30-1)
9 Normandy Invasion (5-1)
10 Clearly Now (10-1)
11 Broadway Empire (20-1)
12 Romansh (15-1)
13 Shakin It Up (6-1)