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A New York State of Racing

The Met Mile: Let’s Get Ready to Rumble

The Memorial Day Met Mile (G1) at Belmont Park has drawn a small but extremely talented and contentious field. The six horses have battled with and beaten the best so many times that this feels like a prizefight, so "Let's get ready to rumble."
The field of six has five millionaires with combined earnings of just under $8,000,000 from 56 victories and 105 in the money finishes. Four of the six have won a grade one stake and the other two are claiming horses that have turned into multiple stakes winners.  Between them they have victories in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, the Preakness, the Ohio and Pennsylvania Derbies, the Carter, the Forego, the King’s Bishop, and the Cigar Mile. This group has won 16 graded stakes. Trainer Dale Romans said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a champion in this race.”
To Honor And Serve (3-1 morning line) is trained by the three-time Eclipse Award winning Hall of Famer Bill Mott. To Honor And Serve leads this field with five graded stakes wins. This son of Bernardini has won over $1 million with seven wins in 12 starts. To Honor And Serve is unbeaten at the mile distance (3/3) and on the Belmont Park track (2/2). Head to head he beat Caixa Eletronica in the Cigar Mile.  “He’s had two good works, and he seems to be looking good,” said Bill Mott in his usual understated way. “It looks like it’s a good race coming up. Nice horses here, without a doubt.”
Shackleford's (4-1 morning line) recent impressive win in the Churchill Downs (G2) over Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Amazombie ended a winless streak that dated back to his 2011 Preakness victory. Shackleford defeated Caleb’s Posse in the last year’s Indiana Derby and twice beat To Honor And Serve in Gulfstream Park Derby prep races. The leading money winner in the race has only run the mile distance once with a second place finish in Caleb’s Posse’s Breeders’ Cup win. Shack’s only start at Belmont was in the final leg of last year’s Triple Crown.
Millionaire Caleb's Posse (8-5 morning line favorite) will be making his first career start at Belmont Park.  He has two narrow losses this year at Aqueduct with the most recent coming to Jackson Bend in the Carter Handicap. Of course Caleb’s Posse won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.  He has twice beaten Shackleford and he topped To Honor And Serve in the Amsterdam at Saratoga last summer. His other victory at a mile was in the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park in 2011.
Saginaw (10-1 morning line) was claimed by trainer David Jacobson for $30,000 on March 12th at Aqueduct and since then he has won four in a row including two New York-bred stakes. He has eight wins and 4 seconds at the mile distance and he has three wins at Belmont. The Met Mile represents a tremendous jump up in class and required a $10,000 supplemental nomination fee. Saginaw is also a main track only entry in the state-bred Kingston Stakes on Saturday at Belmont.
Caixa Eletronica (15-1 morning line), which means ATM or cash dispensing machine in Portuguese, was claimed for $62,500 by Repole Stables and five-time Eclipse winner Todd Pletcher. On April 14th, Caixa Eletronica won the $1,000,000 Charles Town Classic (G2) pushing his earnings over the $1 million barrier. He has four wins at the mile distance and he has one win at Belmont in four tries.
In his last race Jackson Bend (3-1 morning line) defeated Caleb’s Posse and Shackleford in the Carter. He also beat Caixa E. in the James Marvin last summer. Jackson Bend is the fourth millionaire in the Metropolitan. Jackson Bend has not won a race at Belmont in two tries and he is one for five at this mile distance.
When the dust settles after these grade one brawlers have battled I expect to see To Honor and Serve in the winner’s circle.  I feel that Caleb’s Posse and THAS are best suited to the mile distance. After the Westchester Mott described To Honor And Serve as a late developing colt that only now is reaching his potential. Coming down the stretch Caleb’s Posse and To Honor And Serve will do battle, but the talented THAS will come off the mat as the Metropolitan champion. 


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Older Comments about The Met Mile: Let’s Get Ready to Rumble...

I totally agree Matt. I think THAS is starting to hit his best stride & Mott is the most dangerous trainer in the game when pointing for a specific spot. CP could win, but his BC Mile win was a result of a perfect pace setup, as well as the track playing to outside closers.
THAS, CP,JB. Sentimentally, I'd love for JB to dig in and win. Caixa could have his best day ever. Hope this fulfills the promise of a great race.
Posse, THAS, Bend, Shack 1,2,3,4
SAGINAW shocks the racing world! Go Bobby Hack GO!!!
Caixa Eletronica for the upset.
I think it is all Caleb's Posse here, here are my detailed picks for the GREAT weekend horse racing and handicapping we are going to have! I love this sport!
Mary, Jackson Bend is right in the thick of it. This is a lot tighter race than it appears. I think JB as a 5yo is much better than JB as a 4yo. I don't know where Saginaw has been but he fits with those bloodlines. Sometimes a trainer can see a flaw in an otherwise good horse buy it, fix it and win with it. This is wide open and will go to which one gets the trip. Out of a six horse field I can see 5 contenders for the top spot and I'm on a roll again. I'll have to look at it a little deeper and from some different prospectives and go with the most probable one or two depending on the odds.
  • KJMichelfeld · The blinkers have made a difference. But this is like watching a kid get called up from the minors to face the Yankees. The 1927 Yankees. Sags belongs but I am a little biased . · 2462 days ago
MY favourite kind of race, and how to choose as they all eventually become favourites. But JB is still so good everytime.
FYI, the Met Mile will also be shown on the MSG+ television network.
I think THAS is a no brainer. He likes this distance and LOVES New York like a good Bernardini. I'd throw Caixa Electronica in there somewhere too for a little bit of value
I' really looking forward to this race (thank God for HRTV). I understand why CP is the morning line fav, but I really like Shack.
I hate picking horses from a 6-horse field. So embarrassing when I wind up with the three that don't hit the board, but . . .I'll risk the shame anyway. Still deciding. Leaning towards Caleb's Posse, too, but I just like Jackson Bend as a sentimental fav.
Very anxoius to see how Shack does with a new jockey
I hate picking the favorite, but ... Caleb's Posse is the one they all have to beat.
To Honor And, an appropriate winner on Memorial Day.

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Meet Matt Shifman

Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs, Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.

Since 2012, Matt has been a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

Recently, Matt helped launch Derby Day Racing, a new 2-year-old racing partnership, that just purchased a promising Lookin At Lucky filly named Sooner Schooner.

You may also know Matt by his Twitter, Facebook, and HRN screen nameAndyScoggin.

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