A field of eleven horses will line up for Saturday’s $1.5 million Grade 1 Runhappy Metropolitan Mile Handicap which will serve as a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. A total of four horses in the field competed in the Breeders’ Cup last year, with New York bred Mind Your Biscuits leading the way.
Mind Your Biscuits comes into this race off an unbelievable last to first win in the Group 1 Golden Shaheen Stakes last time out at Meydan Race Course in Dubai. This New York bred by Posse is a legend in Dubai after back to back wins in the Golden Shaheen, but there is no doubt that Belmont Park is his home track. Trainer Chad Summers is always a very quotable person, but seems extra fired up for this race.
“It’s his home track. I think it’s probably his favorite track,” Summers said. “Obviously, Meydan is special to us but this is his home track and the last time he ran here in the Belmont Sprint I think he was pretty impressive. We’re excited.
“If you look at the horses that have won the Met Mile and the history of the Met Mile, it’s a who’s who not only of racehorses, but of stallions,” he added. “Growing up in New York, this was probably my favorite race of all time. If we can win the Met Mile, it would mean the world to me.”
Bolt d’Oro adds amazing intrigue into this race as he is a 3-year-old who will be taking on older horses in this spot. At one time this colt was thought to be the favorite for the Kentucky Derby, but struggled in that race. Instead of wheeling Bolt d’Oro back for the Preakness Stakes on short rest Bolt d’Oro was given a breather and was pointed for this spot. Trainer Mick Ruis is hoping the extra time off and cut back in distance is what his horse needs to get back on track.
“I thought the best thing for him was to give him a couple extra weeks and look for this race. This race is speed and stamina,” Ruis said. “We know he has some speed and he’s bred for stamina. We just thought we’d take a shot here. He’s training up to the race really good. We know we’re up against some tough older milers, but I think he’ll put in a good showing for himself.”
The field from the rail out included: Mind Your Biscuits, Bolt d’Oro, Limousine Liberal, McCraken, Good Samaritan, One Liner, Discreet Lover, Ransom the Moon, Warrior’s Club, Bee Jersey, and Awesome Slew.
#1 Mind Your Biscuits – This horse is the master of Dubai! For the second year in a row, he shipped to Dubai for the Group 1 Golden Shaheen Stakes and was victorious. Last year, he returned to the United States and picked up a win at Belmont Park in the Grade 2 Belmont Sprint Championship, but this year, he will try his luck going a mile. A win here would give him a couple of options in regards to the Breeders’ Cup, having competed well in each of the last two years in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. He performed well last year in the one-mile Grade 1 Cigar Mile Aqueduct, so this race should be in his wheelhouse.
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#10 Bee Jersey – This Steve Asmussen trainee comes into the race hot after picking up three in a row. All three came at this mile distance and in wire-to-wire fashion, too. In his last start, he became a stakes winner for the first time with a win in the Grade 3 Sexton Mile at Lone Star Park. He will be moving up in class for this race, but he could be ready for the challenge. His early speed will make him dangerous, and he could find himself loose on the lead.
#6 One Liner – At one point in 2017, this horse was on everybody’s Kentucky Derby watch list, but an injury forced him to miss the entire season after he won the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes in February. Following an extended break, he came back to finish third in his 2018 debut, but he has improved greatly in his last two starts, winning an allowance race at Keeneland before finishing second in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special. The Met Mile will be his first start at the mile distance, and is something that could fit him very well. His one turn races were impressive as a three year old, and his price should be fairly solid in this race.
#5 Good Samaritan – This horse is no stranger to the spotlight and is well-known for solid performances on both the turf and the dirt. He competed in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf during his 2-year-old season, finishing third while making a solid late closing move. He moved to the dirt at Saratoga in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes and beat the Kentucky Derby and Preakness champions to win the race. This year, he debuted with a nice win in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap before finishing third in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes last time out. He cuts back to a mile here, which is his only question mark coming into the race.
#4 McCraken – After a solid early season campaign as a 3-year-old, McCraken could do no better than eighth in the 2017 Kentucky Derby, but he did go on to win the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes and finish second by a nose in the Grade 1 Haskell Stakes that same summer. His 2018 debut against allowance company at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day was sharp, winning by a 1/2-length over a solid field. For this race, he cuts back to a mile, where he is 2-for-2 during his career.
#2 Bolt d’Oro – The 3-year-old will give it a go against older horses for the first time in this spot. After running third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile as the heavy favorite, 2018 started solid for the Mick Ruis trainee, winning the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes and finishing second in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby to Justify. However, he struggled in the Kentucky Derby and will need to rebound in what will be a tough challenge. This is the ultimate wild card in the race as there is no doubt he has a massive amount of talent, but this certainly is a tough spot for him to try after getting beaten so badly in the Derby.
#3 Limousine Liberal – This horse is also entered in Friday’s Grade 2 True North Stakes, so as of now, it is unknown as to which race his connections will choose. He is most well-known for his sprinting abilities, especially at Churchill Downs, where he has won the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes two years in a row. If he can handle this stretch out in distance, then there is no doubt that he can play a part in this race and will have a couple of solid options come Breeders’ Cup time.
#8 Ransom the Moon – In 2017, Ransom the Moon turned into a top-class sprinter with a summer win in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar. He ended his year by running fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, but he was only beaten by 4 1/2 lengths. After finishing second in his seasonal debut at Santa Anita, the 6-year-old Malibu Moon colt will be making just his second start at this mile distance.
#9 Warrior’s Club – Owned by the Churchill Downs Racing Club, this is without question the feel-good story of the race. The Club now owns several horses, but this was their very first purchase, and by far their most successful one. Warrior’s Club has amassed over $600K in earnings and became a Grade 3 winner two races back at Keeneland in the Commonwealth Stakes. Last time out, he nearly became a Grade 2 winner, as well, as he was beaten by just a head in the Churchill Downs Stakes. If this rapidly improving colt can win this race, you will see a packed house in the winner’s circle!
#11 Awesome Slew – Last year’s third-place finisher in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile is back again to try to qualify for the 2018 edition. The word that comes to mind when describing Awesome Slew is consistency. He has hit the board in 15 of 19 career starts and is a horse that you can always count on to come with a solid run. However, one of the races in which he finished the board was last year’s Met Mile, so he will look to improve off of that effort this year.
#7 Discreet Lover – At the age of 5, this horse is still running well and has shown his class by starting in some very tough races during his career. He is only 1-for-4 so far in 2018, but his lone win did come on the NYRA circuit after he dominated his rivals in the Grade 3 Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct.