The Met Mile Entries: Match of the century ... too strong a headline?
Race 9: 1 Mile (Dirt) Metropolitan Mile (G1), $1 Million, 3+ (Saturday)
The former champs of the Met Mile read like a Hall of Fame list of celebrated runners. Recent honored guests of the Belmont celebration station include Shackleford, Sahara Sky, Palace Malice, Honor Code, Frosted, Mitole, Vekoma, and last year’s victor, Silver State. Who will join this time around? A trip to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) is on the line … “Win and You’re In!”
Now, let’s find out about this field…
#1 Flightline (Jky: F. Prat/Trn: J. Sadler):
The speedball that everyone is ready to see is coming to Belmont. A perfect 3/3, the John Sadler-trainee was awfully impressive in the Malibu S. (G1) on Opening Day at Santa Anita. That was all the way back in late December, the day after Christmas. A Tapit colt that is owned by Hronis Racing, the plan was always to point towards this celebrated contest. Landing just the other day, it will be interesting to see how he takes to “Big Sandy.” If he runs the way most expect, then he is going to be very difficult to beat, especially with all that early ability. Flavien Prat knows what it feels like to go fast … can he do it against a major rival, trained by Bill Mott? We will see if his lack of experience is a hindrance.
#2 Speaker’s Corner (Jky: J. Alvarado/Trn: B. Mott):
A Godolphin homebred, it is fair to say that this colt by Street Sense has done everything right in 2022. Ridden by Junior Alvarado, the 4-yr-old produced some big-time performances at Gulfstream Park, and shipping to Aqueduct for the Grade 1 Carter Handicap was another success. I think his talent and experience can win out. Not only does he have frontend speed, but he can sustain it, especially when it counts the most. Certainly, this is a major challenge, taking on such a solid opponent as Sadler’s ace. However, this is Mott we are “speaking” of, and you know his colt will be ready.
#3 Aloha West (Jky: J. Ortiz/Trn: W. Catalano):
If you are looking for a spoiler pick in this spot that is outside of the 2 heavyweights, then Eclipse Thoroughbreds could have the answer in their effective sprinter by Hard Spun. The reigning Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner is coming to Belmont for the 1st time. Trained by the venerable Wayne Catalano, the connections are out to prove that last year’s signature victory was no fluke. Jose Ortiz rode his mount so impressively at Del Mar, rolling late to secure the victory just a fraction before the wire. What we know is that his price will be more than fair on Saturday … I would not overlook this one’s chances, especially if the pace falls apart.
#4 Happy Saver (Jky: I. Ortiz/Trn: T. Pletcher):
You might remember this runner from Todd Pletcher’s establishment because in 2020, even though he skipped the Derby Trail (COVID), he rattled off a series of “wins” against increasingly difficult company. His 4-yr-old campaign was full of “just misses,” as he was out-gamed by the “Max’s” (Max Player and Maxfield). His HOF trainer is hoping for a better result this time around. At least he will not have to run against Mott’s Olympiad … only his Speaker’s Corner #2! Maybe the cut back in distance will assist. Well-bred by Super Saver, Irad Ortiz will have to sit a stalking trip, and see if he can keep up.
#5 Informative (Jky: D. Haddock/Trn: U. St. Lewis):
I have liked the conditioning ability of Uriah St. Lewis (he owns this one too) for some time. He can turn the tables on those that do not respect his horsemanship. This entry of his is going to be a big price on the tote on Saturday, but racing at this level is about dreams. Local Parx rider Dexter Haddock gets the call, and he has some recent experience aboard this son of Bodemeister. You never know what can happen … right, Rich Strike?
Join us Saturday for all of our Belmont Stakes card selections! Should be a great set of races from NYRA’s home in Elmont, New York! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter … Horseracing_USA !!!