The Grade 1 Metropolitan Mile, better known as the Met Mile, is Belmont’s Saturday feature. Eight go in the one-turn event. McKinzie is the 2-1 morning line favorite. Second in this race last year, he then scored in the nine-furlong Whitney at Saratoga. He ended the season runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. In his most recent start he won the Grade 2 Triple Bend over seven furlongs at Santa Anita.
Second favorite Vekoma won his last two starts, both at seven furlongs, the Carter at Belmont by 7 ¼ lengths, and the Sir Shackleton at Gulfstream by 3 ¾ lengths. He finished well back in last year’s Kentucky Derby after taking the Blue Grass at Keeneland. He broke his maiden here at Belmont.
Code of Honor, the third favorite, won the Grade 3 Dwyer over this track and trip last year. He followed up with a win in the Travers at Saratoga. Last month he scored in the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Westchester here in the mud.
The top three all have a decent chance, but the vote goes to Vekoma.
SUBURBAN ALSO ON MET MILE CARD
There was a time when the Met Mile and the Suburban weren’t run on the same day. In fact, they were part of a series for older horses called the Handicap Triple Crown.
A field of eight go in this 1 ¼ mile contest, including first three in last year’s Belmont Stakes.
The winner, Sir Winston, is only the third favorite. He has one win since his Belmont victory. That was in a one-mile optional claimer at Aqueduct in January. Last month he finished second in the Flat Out here over the slightly longer trip of 1 3/8 miles. He doesn’t win often, but could manage a place.
Has the frustrating Tacitus finally found a field he can beat? Second in the Belmont, he’s the morning line favorite. However, he’ll have to overcome the rail post position. This could be a big disadvantage as the race starts on the clubhouse turn.
He broke from the same post in last year’s Jockey Club Gold Cup over the same trip and finished third. He hasn’t won since the Wood Memorial over a year ago. It’s likely he will at least get up for a place.
Joevia ran third in the Belmont, but his recent form hasn’t been up to much.
Moretti, at 5-1, won the Flat Out going gate to wire in the slop by 5 ¼ lengths. Prior to that he won a 1 1/16- mile Oaklawn allowance. He may not need the lead, and breaking from the outside post could be an advantage.
Moretti is the selection in the Suburban.
MET MILE DAY STAKES CONTINUE WITH MANHATTAN ON THE TURF
Another field of eight go in the Manhattan over 1 ¼ miles of Belmont’s inner turf course. Instilled Regard, winner of the 1 1/8-mile Fort Marcy last time out, is the favorite. However, look for Devamani to improve over his first two runs, both seconds, including the Fort Marcy, for new trainer Chad Brown. He has a win over course and distance.
Devamani is the choice in the Manhattan.