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Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Met Mile

- Mass Media (Touch Gold) is the classic “in-and-outer.” He can throw in a good race at any time, and often leaves bettors confounded. He’s been beaten the last four times he’s gone to the post favored, and his last three wins have come at odds of 15-1, 8-1, and 12-1. They’ve also come at distances less than a mile. He ran a good second to Purge in the Cigar Mile, but seems just a bit overmatched here. Which probably means he’ll run big.

Sun King (Charismatic) rebounded from two lackluster efforts at Gulfstream with a last-to-first win in the seven furlong G2 Commonwealth BC at Keeneland on Blue Grass day that some people were using to argue that there was no track bias that day. I thought it just was what happens when horses go 44 1/5 to the half and come home in 39 seconds. Still, it was an impressive effort, as he went 22.40 in the second quarter just to keep up, and then 37 1/5 to get home. Nick Zito has been bubbling under of late; there was Noble Causeway’s second to Mayan King today; Hemingway’s Key’s third in the Preakness, Andromeda’s Hero’s 2nd in the Schaefer, plus Wanderin Boy’s 2nd in the Special (though he was favored in that race), and In The Gold’s 3rd in the BC Distaff. Zito is knocking at the door and perhaps he can break through here. (Though I'd certainly demand his 6-1 morning line at the least.)

Bandini (Fusaichi Pegasus) is two-for-two as a four-year old, and Pletcher has had this race picked out for a long time. But his wins this year may look better than they are. He got the better of Wanderin Boy at Gulfstream, but it was that one’s first race in ten months, one that he clearly needed. He beat two subsequent winners in the Skip Away, but both won allowance races and ran far slower figs than the winner will here. Hard to argue with Pletcher in a stakes race, but he’ll have to run a lifetime best Beyer at a one-turn route that may not be his best, and could be vulnerable and overbet.

Silver Train (Old Trieste) prefaced his win in the BC Sprint with a romp in the one mile Jerome Handicap on this same track, in which he earned a 110 Beyer. A return to that race would make him the most probable winner. But is he in the same kind of form? He’s o-for-two this year, including his second to Spooky Mulder at 1-2 in a three horse race that Dutrow made clear was a prep for this one. In fact, Dutrow is quoted in the Form as saying last November that "If he wins one race next year and it's the Met Mile, that would make everybody happy." He figures to have a good spot towards the front, perhaps stalking Bandini. But as good as his Jerome was, he’ll be facing better than High Fly and Naughty New Yorker here (not to mention Spooky Mulder), and he needs to step up his game significantly.

As much as I liked the effort of Wilko (Awesome Again) in the Dubai World Cup, the fact is that he still hasn’t won since the 2004 Juvenile; that’s ten starts now. He did have the lead at the mile marker in the World Cup, and Eloctrocutionist, even on the dirt is probably better than he’ll see here. (The same may go for runner-up Brass Hat.). Still, he needs to prove that he can win, and I’ll use him underneath only.

What is New York Hero (Partner’s Hero) doing in this race? Oh, he’s a Paraneck horse, never mind..

Sir Greeley (Mr. Greeley) comes off a Belmont win at this distance in his last, the G3 Westchester, and has two wins and two just-missed seconds in his last four starts. That includes the Grade 1 Carter. He’s four-for-five at this distance and is an obvious contender here.

- Picks: Sun King, Wilko, Sir Greeley

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Never was impressed with most of last year's 3yo crop and the 4yo's in here were not even the best of that group. Dutrow WANTS this one bad, will be tough to run down with a relatively easy lead on a very hot May day on a presumably lightning fast track (after all, no one would show up if there was no chance of breaking a track record, would they?).

Box with very logical Sir Greeley, Wilko in his favorite third slot in the triple.

Should be plenty of value since Bandini and Sun King will be big underlays due to connections.

Remainder of card underwhelming.