Tumblr Codes

Tagged with met mile RSS

Very tough beats for two big heart picks of mine in the Met Mile— Normandy Invasion (#9) and Moreno

Very tough beats for two big heart picks of mine in the Met Mile— Normandy Invasion (#9) and Moreno

Palace Malice turns back Goldencents to win the Met Mile (I)

Palace Malice turns back Goldencents to win the Met Mile (I)

Vyjack and Irad Ortiz Jr in the Met Mile (I) post parade

Vyjack and Irad Ortiz Jr in the Met Mile (I) post parade

'Palace' Pinned Down in Met Mile

Traditionally a Memorial Day race, the Met Mile exploded in size and stature by moving to Belmont Stakes Day as indicated by its rich field of competitors, ultimately sporting 4 Grade 1 winners in its 12-horse field which is probably the deepest of any race on the undercard. With favorites winning about 25% of the time in this race and the heavy favorite Palace Malice buried on the rail, this just became a very good betting race.

1 – PALACE MALICE – By numbers and form alone, last year’s Belmont winner is the deserving favorite of the field. But, with trainer Todd Pletcher and handicappers wincing at his drawing of the rail post in such a large field, there’s some cause for concern as this horse will have to break well and find a good stalking spot without getting crowded in. Tit for tat, he’s the best horse who may lose.

2 – VYJACK – Not a lot to say for this race as Vyjack moves up into pretty steep company as a horse who made his pay days mainly sprinting and as a two-year-old. Too much too soon, and he’s shown little evidence he can clear the hurdle.

3 – SCARLY CHARLY – Not a whole lot to write home about the 110 lb lightweight of the field who gets transferred to top New York trainer Michael Hushion. He was beaten a half-length at this distance back in December but hasn’t beaten anything notable.

4 – GOLDENCENTS – The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (I) champ ships out to Belmont to make his 2014 debut, giving him one of the longest layoffs of the field after finishing 7th in the Cigar Mile in November. He is 2-for-4 at the mile distance, with both of those wins coming at Santa Anita. His layoff schedule is also suspect, as both times he came off a long layoff he did not win, and the best one was a 2nd on his favorite track. Very classy horse who may need to get some wind back in his lungs before he can expect to win such a steep race.

5 – MORENO – Love this horse, and he goes blinkers off after a really great run in the Pimlico Special (III) where he put up some impressive numbers along with his characteristic bulldog tenacity. He loves Belmont as he is 2-for-2 on the track including a win there at this mile distance. Lightly weighted considering his talent going further than a mile, he could be ignored by others and could spring loose.

6 – CENTRAL BANKER – I tend to bank on Speightstown progeny, and this one won last time out at 10-1 odds in a G2 sprint at Churchill Downs. Likely to move late, he is untested at the mile distance but has some grit late in the action and keeps Corey Nakatani who helped him win his last race. Very competitive should there be a hot pace.

7 – CAPO BASTONE -  At his peak, the Street Boss colt was a very overwhelming closer in sprints as indicated by his G1 King’s Bishop win last summer. He came off a layoff to a couple of bad races, then was too late and wide last out in the G2 Churchill Downs to make up much. He should improve 2nd off the layoff but by how much is anyone’s guess.

8 – DECLAN’S WARRIOR – Actually kind of an interesting horse. He has 2 wins and 2 places in 4 Belmont starts, has won at this distance, and is 9: 4-3-0 on a fast track. The reason is muddled for his 30-1 morning line odds, as he was eased in the King’s Bishop last summer then returned to yield late in a March Gulfstream allowance, then improved but was no match for Palace Malice last out in the Westchester (III) on a “good” surface—not fast how he likes it. With a hot pace, he could be a threat if he’s still in good form.

9 – NORMANDY INVASION – Another one I’ve doted on for quite some time, the Tapit colt comes off a 2-month layoff following a 4 ¾-length loss to Palace Malice in the New Orleans Handicap (II) while going wide. Cutting back, he is perhaps a larger threat at just 8 furlongs with some top numbers and is 2-for-2 at this distance. Getting 7 pounds from Malice doesn’t hurt either.

10 – CLEARLY NOW – Rarely out of the top 3, the Arch colt has had 2 muddled tries at 8 furlongs, one of which involved disqualification and the other clipping heels with another horse. He lost a sprint by less than 2 lengths last out and looks to close on in again.

11 – BROADWAY EMPIRE – A winner at the distance and a shipper, the Empire Maker colt boasts a 50% win percentage but totes some class questions as he mainly has been romping over lower-class foes and yielded late while others were galloping out on the lead in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (I).

12 – ROMANSH – A New York staple with many past stakes wins coming at NYRA, the Bernardini colt moves up from his regular ungraded and G3 races while trying 8 furlongs for the first time after racing mainly at 9 furlongs. He also comes off a steep 2-month layoff, but at this rate who hasn’t…

13 – SHAKIN IT UP – Closing up the shipper category is the Midnight Lute son and G1 winner of last year’s Malibu Stakes (I) trying the mile distance for the first time. Shakin showed off his shipping abilities last out in the Churchill Downs (II), missing by a mere head to Central Banker and should be okay if not better coming off a short(ish) layoff and Rosie in the irons (she won with another ‘Lute, Midnight Lucky, by daylight at Churchill).

Top 3 Picks:

1)      Normandy Invasion

2)      Shakin It Up

3)      Moreno

Pick 4: Normandy Invasion, Shakin It Up, Moreno, Palace Malice. Spread with Central Banker, Declan’s Warrior.

Early pace/off-the-pace types tend to rule this race, although I am not anticipating an overly hot pace and I aim to try to beat Palace Malice stuck down on the inside. Moreno could come off straight to the lead easily and could put up an interesting fight when the going gets tough, as he is known to keep a marginally solid pace out on the lead. He will face pressure, and despite the layoff, Normandy Invasion has a lot of potential to turn in another G1 win for Tapit as a horse who likes this distance and could roll over the rest in his comfort zone. Shakin It Up could be the key late mover as he ships in 2nd-off-the-layoff after missing by just a head. 

Weekend Stake Tip: Back Up Again?

image

Thanks to the dank three-year-old crop, I haven’t had a real winner in a while. Java’s War was the only legit winner I had written down here in months— I don’t count picking Flashback to win that stupid excuse of a stakes race and Freedom Child's Peter Pan win was something I only wrote on Twitter— so it was nice to see win/value pick Najjaar run a strong 3rd on Saturday at 11-1 odds then have win pick Sahara Sky sweep in for a late Met Mile victory on Monday. It does wonders for my confidence to know that Belmont is playing fairly this close to the Belmont Stakes.

The horses I like most for the Belmont are closing types, but now that it is even more obvious that speed is holding up, Freedom Child is going to demand more of my attention once again. As of now:

DO LIKE:

  • Revolutionary
  • Golden Soul
  • Freedom Child
  • Code West (if he goes)

ON THE FENCE:

  • Oxbow
  • Orb
  • Unlimited Budget

NO or UNDECIDED:

  • Overanalyze
  • Giant Finish
  • Incognito
  • Midnight Taboo
  • Always in a Tiz
  • Palace Malice
  • Will Take Charge

Obviously, the ones that have raced more are closer to being a “no.” For the record, I am 10x more excited for the two big G1 turf races on Belmont Day than I am about the actual headliner (especially if Mizdirection does indeed ship in to meet Dayatthespa). I’m just not enthusiastic about the three-year-old crop in general. There is more than enough skill and difference in setup likings in the “like” group to deter any enormous longshots from winning this year.

I will probably try to keep handicapping Belmont this week to keep a handle on how the track is playing to how I see things unfolding, but I would also like to try a little international race going on this Saturday…

The Unforgettable Races of 2012: #10-1

image

Continued from the #20-11 best races post, it’s time to hammer out the ten most awesome and memorable races from 2012! Again, a lot of my choices are North American, so you Euro fans and the like take it easy on me!

Honorable mention: I believe I miscounted the number of races I had before… I really meant to include Mizdirection’s Turf Sprint here in the middle of the countdown. Ugh! I knew I was bad at math but this is very erroneous… sorry Miz!

10) Union Rags sneaks by Paynter to win Belmont (I) - My most personal race from 2012 being that I was there for it, whether you cared for the race or not it was still one not to miss. Hot improver Paynter looked like the first horse in some time that could win the Test of the Champion wire-to-wire until Union Rags managed to find a path through on the inside just as time ran out. Watch it here

9) Questing all shock and awe in Alabama (I) performance - I was kind of heart-broken to have missed this race in person (it was between this weekend and the Whitney weekend I had to go to Saratoga), but all in all, it was still a jaw-dropping display of raw ability watching Questing set Secretariat-like fractions in a wire-to-wire romp in the Alabama (I) against top-class fillies! Watch it here

8) Shackleford deflects Caleb’s Posse to win stunning Met Mile (I) - I didn’t have him to win despite feeling that he could win this race last year after his Preakness victory, all because I thought he was in bad form. Shack Attack proved me wrong and his fan base was jubilant as he kept right on going in a rousing renewal of his rivalry with Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (I) champion Caleb’s Posse. Watch it here

7) My Miss Aurelia ousts Questing in Cotillion (I) match race - Despite boasting a four horse field, it was really a match race between undefeated Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (I) winner My Miss Aurelia and the rising star Questing, each well-handicapped against each other to make things an interesting race. Each filly gave it her best and it was quite the million-dollar race. Watch it here

6) Royal Delta digs in, gives away weight, and still prevails in gutsy Delaware Handicap (II) - We all knew she was something special, but a fast horse is nothing without a big heart. Royal Delta gave away 3 to 10 pounds to all of her foes, including a whopping 9 to recent Azeri (III) winner Tiz Miz Sue who challenged her in the stretch when she already appeared to be going all out. Watch it here

5) Wise Dan conquers international field, holds off Animal Kingdom in Breeders’ Cup Mile (I) - A vulnerable favorite, Wise Dan capped off an impeccable year as a do-it-all gelding with a win in the seriously competitive Breeders’ Cup Mile against shippers of colossal class. He skirted away to the lead in the stretch as easily as he did in past starts while managing to hold off Animal Kingdom who came sweeping in late. Watch it here

4) I’ll Have Another catches Bodemeister in dramatic Kentucky Derby (I) - A curious race from its rocky start, Bodemeister unexpectedly outran predicted pacesetter Trinniberg early and looked prime to wire the Derby in an outstanding display of might, only to tire and be caught late by the heroic I’ll Have Another. Watch it here

3) Orfevre caught by Solemia in upsetting Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (FR-I) - While it appeared that Japan’s Triple Crown winner was going to revel in the one of the world’s most prestigious races, it was Solemia who stormed in late and out of the clouds to upset the good Orfevre in the waning moments of the Arc. Watch it here

2) Frankel bows a perfect winner in Champion Stakes (ENG-I) - A timeless, unforgettable sort of horse, the fantastic Frankel made his last start worthwhile as he encountered trouble in the early stages of the race while running on soft turf against some of the best horses in Europe. The crowd cheering to a sustained din, it was the ideal end to a superhorse’s legacy. Watch it here

1) Black Caviar outsmarts and outsprints them all in Ascot’s Diamond Jubilee (ENG-I) to stay perfect - Humming off the rail in an unprecendented ship from Australia to England, the world’s most perfect sprinter looked easy-going making her move to the lead, but nearly lost her undefeated streak when jockey Luke Nolen appeared to ease her too early. Watch it here

Caleb’s Posse, in my opinion, had the best and most decisive performance in last year’s Breeders’ Cup when he won the Dirt Mile (I) in a final bounding rush. He was scathingly close to three separate stakes wins this year, including the memorable Met Mile (I) against Shackleford. I still think he deserved to win the Eclipse Award last year, but what can you do… now that he’s been retired, I hope he will pass on his consistency and will to win on to his foals. I’m going to guess he’ll get $20,000 his first year at stud starting 2013. (Photo by Matthew Stockman)

Caleb’s Posse, in my opinion, had the best and most decisive performance in last year’s Breeders’ Cup when he won the Dirt Mile (I) in a final bounding rush. He was scathingly close to three separate stakes wins this year, including the memorable Met Mile (I) against Shackleford. I still think he deserved to win the Eclipse Award last year, but what can you do… now that he’s been retired, I hope he will pass on his consistency and will to win on to his foals. I’m going to guess he’ll get $20,000 his first year at stud starting 2013. (Photo by Matthew Stockman)

DOUCHEBAG HOW COULD YOU SAY CALEB'S POSSE IS BETTER!? I OBJECT. I'M ANGRY. I WILL CALL MR. ROMANS RIGHT NOW AND COMPLAIN!!!

Asked by thoughtsonracinglifeandmore

This threat would have been a lot scarier if you went on anon!

If I had a dollar for every time I disagreed with what Dale Romans does, I’d look like a stripper with all the singles I had.

I realize I probably sound like a d-bag, but while it was a good race I feel like Caleb’s Posse is the best miler in the country. To Honor and Serve didn’t stand much of a chance being stuck on the rail and having to check around Shackleford to get clear running room. But alas, Shack’s a beast. I still can’t get over how huge a horse he is every time I see photos of him!

I realize I probably sound like a d-bag, but while it was a good race I feel like Caleb’s Posse is the best miler in the country. To Honor and Serve didn’t stand much of a chance being stuck on the rail and having to check around Shackleford to get clear running room. But alas, Shack’s a beast. I still can’t get over how huge a horse he is every time I see photos of him!

Shackleford was every bit the gusty Preakness winner he was last year in today’s Met Mile (I). Two gradeds in a row, beating out a Breeders’ Cup winner both times! Yikes!

Going to the Thoroughbred races, keeping "track" of the memories. Obsessively providing a comprehensive and personal glance at the sport of kings through original photography, handicapping analysis, editorials, and much more.

Tracks visited: Calder, Saratoga, Belmont, Suffolk, Aqueduct.


Popular Tags:

Editorials

Handicapping Info

Photos

Answered Asks