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Stars are Out for Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap

Thunder Snow Back in America for Met Mile (Coady Photography)

A star-studded field of 9 horses will line up for this year’s running of the $1,200,000 Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park in what could be the race of the year thus far.

The Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap, aka the Met Mile, drew six millionaires into the field, including two-time Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Thunder Snow. The Godolphin homebred colt has amassed $16,391,476 in career earnings coming into this race, far more than the rest of his challengers combined. However, he is still searching for his first win in the United States. Last year, he was third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs after finishing second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park.

The winner of the Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap will receive an automatic position in the $1 million Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile Stakes (G1) this fall at Santa Anita Park. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the nominating person. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of California will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based Internationally.

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Here is a look at the entire field:

#1 Coal Front – This speedy Todd Pletcher trainee has been lights out in his last three starts. The streak started easily in the Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park before heading to Oaklawn Park to win the Razorback Handicap (G3). He then shipped overseas to Dubai, where he took home the Godolphin Mile (G2) in dramatic fashion. His 1-for-1 record over this course also bodes well for his chances against this ultra-talented group.

#2 McKinzie – He may be coming off the most impressive last-out win of anyone in the field. That came in the Alysheba Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs. He held the lead off of the far turn but looked to be fading, only to reengage down the stretch for a dominating victory. The Bob Baffert trainee has finished first or second in 9 of his 10 career starts, with his lone off-the-board finish a disappointing 12th in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

#3 Mitole – This horse has been a superstar recently, winning the Count Fleet Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn Park and the Churchill Downs Stakes (G1). The Steve Asmussen trainee has won six straight coming into this challenge and has never missed the board in 9 starts. This distance, the longest of his career, is his only question mark.

#4 Thunder Snow – A earner of over $16 million in his career, he is still looking for his first win in the United States. He has shipped to this country three times, recently finishing third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. Last time out, he conquered his second straight Dubai World Cup, narrowly defeating Gronkowski at the wire for the victory.

#5 Tale of Silence – He will make his third start off the layoff after a solid second last time out in the Gulfstream Park Mile Stakes (G2). Overall, he is 3-for-5 at Belmont Park, including a win in last year’s Westchester Stakes (G3). He is looking for his first career Grade 1 victory in his second attempt at this level.

For Picks and Specific Plays for this race and more, check out our Inside Track to the Belmont Stakes!

#6 Promises Fulfilled – This front-running sprinter is no stranger to big races on big days. He competed in four graded stakes events last year, including a victory in the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes (G1) at Saratoga and a fourth-place finish in last year’s TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). This year, he was fourth in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) on the Dubai World Cup card and third in the Churchill Downs Stakes on Kentucky Derby Day.

#7 Firenze Fire – He is a monster at Belmont Park, making him dangerous here. He is 3-for-3 over “Big Sandy” with wins in the Champagne Stakes (G1), the Dwyer Stakes (G3), and the Runhappy Stakes. The colt is also no stranger to the Breeders’ Cup, having finished seventh in 2017’s Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and fourth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).

#8 Pavel – Last year, he won the “Win and You’re In” Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs to earn a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. It was his second attempt in the Classic, where he finished 10th both times. This year, he will try to qualify for the Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile off of two off-the-board efforts in 2019, including a fourth in the Dubai World Cup last time out.

#9 Prince Lucky – Trainer Todd Pletcher thought he had a monster on his hands after this horse easily won the Hal’s Hope Stakes (G3) and the Gulfstream Park Mile Stakes (G2) to start 2019. However, the gelding must rebound off of a poor performance last time out that saw him finish sixth in the Westchester Stakes (G3). That loss snapped a three-race winning streak.

The Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap will be one of 10 stakes races on the loaded Belmont Stakes Day Card. The track will also host two other Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events on the day: the Jaipur Invitational Stakes (Turf Sprint) and the Ogden Phipps Stakes (Longines Distaff). The American-based Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events continue on June 15 at Churchill Downs with two challenge races: the Stephen Foster (Classic) and the Fleur de Lis (Longines Distaff).

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