The upcoming Grade 1, $1.2 Metropolitan Handicap already looked like one of the year’s top features for older horses entering this week with names like McKinzie, Mitole and Coal Front targeting it.
Then Godolphin put two-time Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Thunder Snow in the mix for the June 8 race on the Belmont Stakes undercard.
According to AtTheRaces.com, trainer Saeed bin Suroor favors the Met Mile over a run on the turf next month at Royal Ascot for Thunder Snow, a 5-year-old son of Helmet who edged out Gronkowski to win the March 31 World Cup.
Bin Suroor most recently worked Thunder Snow on Thursday and said it will take two more breezes before a final decision is made.
“I’ve talked to Christophe (Soumillon) and Kieren Fallon, who rides him every morning, and we think maybe a mile is better to start him back over,” bin Suroor told AtTheRaces.com.
He mentioned the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park and the Breeders’ Cup Classic as two more races “on the agenda.” Last year, Thunder Snow ran second in the Gold Cup and third in the Breeders’ Cup, certain redemption for his non-showing in the 2017 Kentucky Derby, when he didn’t come away from the gate running at Churchill Downs.
Thunder Snow has finished off the board only twice in 14 starts since the Derby, with both of those performances on turf.
In addition to those already mentioned, Firenze Fire and Promises Fulfilled, other Grade 1 winners around one turn, are probable for the Met Mile.