GI Metropolitan Handicap
$1,200.000 1 Mile Dirt Race For 3 Year Olds And Up.
The 2017 edition of the Met Handicap will feature fourteen horses all looking for a piece of that $1,200.000 purse. Possibly an even more important aspect of the race is this is a Breeders Cup “Win And Your In” race, meaning the winner of this race will hold their golden ticket to the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile in November. No winner of the Met has gone on to win the dirt mile but could this be the year that trend ends?
1- Gma Is My Hero (Trained by Aer Stables, Ridden by Alvarado J)
The race features two Aer Stables horses, leaving the gate from post one and two. The first of those starters is Gma Is My Hero. The horse comes into the race in bad form for 2017 as he has a paltry $2.160 in earnings this year in three starts. Back in October he was able to win the GIII Bold Ruler but has struggled ever since. Won’t be much of a factor in any way in the race.
2- The Perfect Day (Trained by Aer Stables, Ridden by Leparoux J)
The second of two entries from Aer Stables also comes into the race on the down swing. He has spent the year running on turf and is hoping a return to dirt will be the change he needs to get back on track. He has been struggling all year long in some tough GI turf races. This horse was a top contender on the derby trail last year but it has been a struggle as a four year old. The work tab still suggest he hasn’t lost a step but this will be a big test and important race to show he is a horse that can be a top contender in the older horse division. I think the competition has passed this one by and wont be able to keep up with the top runners in the division.
3- Champagne Supernova (Trained by Eastern Equine, Ridden by Moran D)
Another of the derby trail horses from last year is Champagne Supernova. Unfortunately for the connections it has also not been a great start to 2017 for this four year old colt. In his last start he struggled to a sixth place finish in the GIII Winchester which has seen all of the top four runners from that race also make the Met their next start. It is unlikely he will be able to take down those four, let alone some of the other contenders in this race to have a chance.
4- Silver Dancer (Trained by Night Rider Stables, Ridden by Maragh R)
Coming into the race in good form is Silver Dancer. In his most recent start he was a winner by almost a length in the GIII Westchester here at Belmont. Since being claimed last fall his new stable has found a winning formula with different adds and has seen a lot of improvement out of this five year old gelding. If he can let others set the early pace and sit just off that Silver Dancer could be the one to beat.
5- Surprising (Trained by Mb Stables, Ridden by Albarado R J)
We have been seeing a lot of these lightly raced horses out of the Mb Stables recently pop up in stake races and do well. These horses come into the races well prepared so are tough to over look despite the inexperience on the track and against tough competition. Surprising has posted back to back 98 speed figures as a part of a three race win streak heading into the Met. It is a tough spot to jump into though but is one of those horses you can’t ignore when going to the window with your exotic bets.
6- Carneyman (Trained by John Henry, Ridden by Lezcano J)
The 2016 winner of the Belmont Stake is back in 2017 to try and win another big race on Belmont day. He has not done much winning in the past few month but will be hoping a cut back in distance will help fix that. His most recent works show he may have a big race in him, his recent 1:10 is the quickest work he has ever shown at the distance and could be a good indication he has been building up to this start.
7- Viking Rasta (Trained by Delta Farms, Ridden by Ortiz I Jr)
Delta Farms will send out Viking Rasta in the Met. This four year old colt out of Desert Rasta ships in from PRX where last time out he was able to go wire to wire in an Optional Claimer. He has been a bit inconsistent in 2017 after a great ending to his 2016 campaign. He could look to help set the early pace in the race but doesn’t look to be much of a factor as they turn for home.
8- Ocean Cookie (Trained by Aml Racing, Ridden by McMahon C J)
Ocean Cookie will be facing the toughest test of his career in the Met. This GIII winner always puts in an honest effort, only finishing outside the top three in three of his eighteen career races. Along with the horse just to the inside of him, Viking Rasta they will look to clear the horses to their inside and help set the early pace in the race.
9- Pinnacle West (Trained by Tiratzo, Ridden by Hernandez JJ)
In the past couple of years Pinnacle West has always been there at the wire but can never get the job done. In recent years he is almost always finding a way to bring home a check but has not been able to get into the winners circle. His work tab is still great and is one that still has a very real chance of bringing home another paycheck in the Met.
10- Angelic General (Trained by Gdp Inc, Ridden by Oritz J L)
Angelic General comes into the race in good form. He ran a very solid fifth place in the GII CD last time. That race was in the slop at CD, on a fast track he may have been able to find the winners circle. Previous to that he put up two straight victories in GIII races. This seven year old gelding looks to still be very competitive at this level despite his 44 career starts. I expect another great run out of this veteran that results in a top three finish.
11- Captain Rush (Trained by Smokey Stover, Ridden by Bejarano R)
Captain Rush typically finds a way to bring home a check for his many different owners he has had over his career. The distance of a mile should be exactly what this horse needs, the shorter sprinting distances seem to be a tad bit too short and anything over a mile seem too long, 7-8 furlongs seems ideal for this one so that will help his cause. He also likes to come from off the pace so the outside post should allow him to easily fall back behind most of the others early on and then take a late run. If your looking for a longer price with a shot Captain Rush might be one to look at on Saturday.
12- Port On The Horizon (Trained by D J C Racing Stables, Ridden by Velazquez J R)
One of the more decorated horses in the field is Port On The Horizon. With over $3500.000 in earnings this son of Risen Ruler he has actually been able to out earn his famous father. Looking to best his fifth place finish in this race last year he will drop back to the mile distance which he has not run at since this race last year. He has not been able to find the winners circle in some time now which has to be a concern for the connections. He will hope to build off a very nice second place finish last time out in the PIM Special
13- Fly Millennium (Trained by John Henry, Ridden by Centeno D E)
In four straight races Fly Millennium has finished one length back of the winner. As a closer that may be an indication he needs to get his move started a bit earlier in the race or stay a bit closer to the pace early on. Ideally he would like to be a length or two closer in the Met in hopes of being able to better time his closing speed. In such a large field the other issue he will need to contend with is traffic but an outside post may help position this one a little better. He could be a bit of a sleeper pick that could just pop up and surprise us!
14- Dogs Got Wings (Trained by Blushing Meadows, Ridden by Bravo J)
After being bought for the bargain bin price of $75.000 back in April Dogs Got Wings finished a very solid second in the GIII Westchester last time out behind Met runner Silver Dancer. He seems to love the mile distance but might be just a step behind talent wise to a lot of the others in the race.
My Selections: 4/6/10
Categories: Grade I