Expert picks: 2020 Met Mile predictions, longshots

Expert picks: 2020 Met Mile predictions, longshots
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Perennially one of the more exciting and talent-rich races each year, this edition of the 2020 Grade 1 Metropolitan is no different, as a solid field of eight will go to the gate in the Met Mile at Belmont Park on Saturday.

McKinzie is the only runner in this year's field that gave the Met Mile a try last year, where he finished a game second to Mitole.

                 RELATED: Free PPs for Belmont's Met Mile

Grade 1 Carter winner Vekoma will try to win back-to-back Grade 1 tilts at Belmont Park.

2019 Travers winner Code of Honor will also showcase his best effort in the one-turn eight furlong race, which will be the ninth race of the day at Belmont Park with an approximate post time of 5:47 p.m. Eastern.

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See how HRN's expert expect the Met Mile to unfold...


Winner: #7 Mr Freeze
Hit the board: #5 Code of Honor, #2 Vekoma

Longshot: #6 Endorsed

Analysis: Mr Freeze is an early-pressing type with an affinity for one-turn mile races. He reconnects with winning pilot Manny Franco and should make his presence felt throughout. Code of Honor ran down Endorsed in his Westchester (G3) return June 6. He likes this oval and should be heard from late. Vekoma was excellent in both extended sprints this year. The tactical colt is 2-for-2 at Belmont and is a strong contender in his current form. Endorsed gave Code of Honor a real battle in the Westchester, and he might have another forward move in him in his third start after a layoff. McKinzie probably would have won this race last year, but he was stuck inside and Mitole sat the right trip. It was nice to see him get back on track in the Triple Bend (G2), and he almost always runs his race. I am just not sure if he is as good as he used to be, and he might take money money than he should in a competitive race. Wagers: #7 to win; exacta box 5-7; trifecta Key 7/2-3-5-6; trifecta 2-3-5-6/7/2-3-5-6; trifecta 2-3-5/2-3-5/6-7

Winner: #5 Code of Honor
Hit the board: #3 McKinzie, #7 Mr Freeze

Longshot: #8 Warrior's Charge

Analysis: Code of Honor is in the best form of his career and comes into the Met Mile off a sharp win in the Westchester off a six month layoff. Second time back in 2020, he should be more fresh, sharp, and ready to roll. He's 3 for 4 at Belmont Park and the one turn mile is right up his alley. He has posted two back to back sharp drills since his last start. Should get a hot pace and get first run. McKinzie was an unlucky 2nd in this race a year ago. Had traffic trouble and found room too late. He has only been worse than second twice in 16 starts. comes in off win in the Triple Bend, he stays clear, he should come flying down the stretch. One turn mile fits his style. Mr. Freeze returns to the one turn mile for the first time since his win in the Gulfstream Park Mile. Only off the board in 13 lifetime starts, and has consistently fast beyer numbers. He will be upfront early, and can carry his speed a long way. Warrior's Charge has been on the lead in six straight starts and won four of those times. He's very fast from the gate, and he shortens up to one mile, which could benefit him. He has run well against some of the best competition around, with the right trip, he will be dangerous up front. I will play a 5-3-7-8 superfecta.  

Mark Midland
Winner: #7 Mr Freeze
Hit the board: #3 McKinzie, #5 Code of Honor

Longshot: #6 Endorsed

Analysis: At 8-1 ML, #7 Mr Freeze is a value play here.  Play a $5 exacta 7 with 2356 and reverse it with a $5 exacta 2356 with 7. 

Candice Curtis
Winner: #8 Warrior's Charge
Hit the board: #2 Vekoma, #5 Code of Honor

Longshot: #8 Warrior's Charge

Analysis: Warrior's Charge has pointed for this race all spring and will come with his A game. I'm taking a big risk playing him over the favorites, McKinzie & Code of Honor, because I think he has the speed of the speed and will withstand any pressure from Mr. Freeze. Play #8 Warrior's Charge on top with McKinzie, Vekoma and Code of Honor in your Tris and Supers.

Winner: #3 McKinzie
Hit the board: #1 Network Effect, #5 Code of Honor

Longshot: #1 Network Effect

Analysis: McKinzie faltered as the favorite in this event last year where he encountered trouble, and was beaten less than a length by eventual Sprint champion, Mitole. Prepped for this with a 7-furlong win at Santa Anita. His speed keeps him in the game and looks to get a good setup here. Network Effect comes in off a runner-up effort in the slop behind Vekoma in Carter. He’s been first or second in 7 of his 8 lifetime starts. He is in good form and should appreciate a fast track. Code of Honor enters in off one race this season (Westchester), but had a big campaign last year as a 3-yr old including winning a pair of G1’s. Classy horse is 3 for 4 at Belmont Park including a win at a flat mile in the Dwyer Stakes last July. 

Bryan Brinkmeyer
Winner: #3 McKinzie
Hit the board: #5 Code of Honor, #2 Vekoma

Longshot: #8 Warrior's Charge

Analysis: A star-studded field headlined by Code of Honor and McKinzie makes this year's Met Mile a special event with plenty of possible winners. Even though I think that Vekoma will be game to challenge these two, I favor McKinzie coming off a win in the 7-furlong contest last time to make his move first and hold off a clean, strong challenge from Code of Honor in the final furlong. 

Winner: #8 Warrior's Charge
Hit the board: #3 McKinzie, #5 Code of Honor

Longshot: #7 Mr Freeze

Analysis: This edition of the Met Mile only contains one true pacesetter in Warrior's Charge, giving him the advantage if he can outbreak Mr Freeze and secure the lead. If that first step is accomplished, he is capable of setting relatively modest fractions against this group of pressers, stalkers and closers. Otherwise, Code of Honor and McKinzie are logical choices with proven class against Grade 1 company. 

Ryan Dickey
Winner: #7 Mr Freeze
Hit the board: #2 Vekoma, #3 McKinzie

Longshot: #8 Warrior's Charge

Analysis: I’m playing against #5 Code of Honor totally in this race, as he does his best running late in longer races. He may be uncomfortable in this one-turn mile against these foes. He’s a great horse, but I’ll be against him hitting the board. Conversely, this race is right in Mr Freeze’s wheelhouse. Warrior’s Charge will get to the front and he should hold on for a piece. I had a hard time determining if I liked Vekoma or McKinzie better underneath, and it’s a razor’s edge nod to Vekoma, who is coming in third off a long layoff. Exactas 7 over 2,3,8 and trifecta key 7 over 2,3,8.

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