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Check out our predictions and odds for the Met Mile at Belmont Park!
SLOW DOWN ANDY
I Ortiz, Jr
HOIST THE GOLD
*Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.
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Voted the most popular horse in America last year, Cody’s Wish will look to keep his winning streak intact when he headlines a field of nine older males in the $1 million Met Mile on Saturday at Belmont Park.
The 5-year-old son of Curlin has won five straight for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. The last three came in Grade 1 company, topped by a thrilling victory in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last fall.
Most recently, he returned from a six-month layoff to sweep by the field in the Churchill Downs Stakes on Kentucky Derby day. Overall, he is unbeaten in six tries going the one-mile distance.
Chief among his challengers in the Grade 1 affair will be the streaking Repo Rocks for trainer Jamie Ness.
A winner of five of his last six, the Tapiture gelding comes into his biggest test yet off an overpowering victory over the track in the Grade 3 Westchester five weeks ago.
Trainer Chad Brown sends out the classy Zandon in hopes that the 4-year-old son of Upstart can improve upon his runner-up finish behind Repo Rocks last time in what was his seasonal debut.
This 5-year-old son of Curlin has returned this year to remain the best story in American racing. With his special fan base watching, the powerhouse finisher is a neck short of having won nine races in a row.
As it is, he has won five in a row, including three straight against Grade 1 competition. Even better, he seems perfectly suited for the Met Mile. He loves the distance, and there should be a strong pace to set the table for his rally.
The winner of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile looks poised to add another major feather to his cap on Saturday. He is the top pick.
A year ago at this time, this son of Tapiture simply was not in this class. He changed barns last fall and that has made all the difference in the world as he has five wins and a second from six starts for trainer Jamie Ness.
While they’ve never quite come against the depth of competition he will see on Saturday, it’s clear that he has become a serious racehorse. A repeat of his last, in which he trounced Zandon in the Westchester, will make him a real contender on Saturday.
On the other hand, a strong early pace, and a host of strong late runners will make this by far his toughest test to date. I like a few others better here.
Since a very impressive victory in the Grade 1 Blue Grass last spring, it’s hard to believe this classy son of Upstart has not found the winner’s circle since.
Third in both the Kentucky Derby and Travers, he has run plenty of good races for Chad Brown, but has not been able to put it all together. A well-beaten second last time behind Repo Rocks, he will need to improve if he wants to be a serious threat on Saturday.
With a strong early pace expected, though, and improvement expected in his second race back, this could be a good spot for him to show his class. He is a must use in the exotics for me.
The only previous time this son of Tapit raced at Belmont, it came at the same one-mile trip as he will see on Saturday. The result was a 23-length tour de force.
While his three races this year have left something to be desired, he’s not far off. Returning to a track and distance that he clearly likes, I look for big improvement for the still lightly raced 4-year-old.
This is obviously a serious test, but I expect his best on Saturday for trainer Todd Pletcher. I believe he may prove to be the most dangerous contender to Cody’s Wish.
After a layoff of more than a year, this son of Violence looked very good in winning his return race last month. It did come in a short field, though, and at 6-furlongs.
Proven as a top class sprinter, I’m not sure it will be enough foundation as he stretches out to a mile against a strong field. He should prove the fastest of the fast early, though, as he tries to carry his speed.
If left alone for too long, the multiple Grade 1 winner could prove very brave, but I expect the challenges to come before he can ever get comfortable. I am looking elsewhere.
After a successful career campaigning for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr., this Grade 1 winner will now make his first start for trainer Rick Dutrow.
The winner of the Florida Derby last year, he has been unable to break through in a stakes race since, but did come close when running a flat mile last fall.
The one-turn mile should suit him well and the belief is that his new trainer will have him sharp as a tack for this test. Having gained confidence in his allowance romp last time, he looks like a real contender on Saturday.
A graded stakes winner on the dirt at both 2 and 3, as well as a graded stakes winner on the turf last year, this son of Nyquist has been remarkably consistent for trainer Doug O’Neill.
If he moves forward as an older horse this year, he could be on the verge of a very big season. As for his prospects on Saturday, this looks like a tough spot.
There is speed to set up fast fractions in front of him, and strong closers coming from behind. As much respect as I have for him, this will probably prove a little more than he wants in his first race in seven months.
A winner of three straight for his new trainer Brittany Russell, this son of Into Mischief will look to prove that his last was no fluke. Sent off at 17/1 odds in the Grade 1 Carter, he came from well back to run down Repo Rocks late.
Previously trained by Bob Baffert, he was never able to handle top competition back in California. He no doubt has improved as a 4-year-old, but still this field presents a much tougher test than did the Carter.
I cannot completely dismiss him, considering his recent form and the way he finished the last one, but my belief is this will prove a bit too much for him.
This son of Mineshaft has proven to be a nice one-turn horse over the last year for trainer Dallas Stewart. He has finished in the top four in eight straight races against solid competition.
Last out, he turned in his best performance yet to finish second behind Cody’s Wish in the Churchill Downs Stakes.
Having said all that, he still only has two career wins and was no match for the favorite down the stretch. It only gets tougher here. I like too many others to give him strong consideration on Saturday.
Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Email: [email protected]
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