The rapid ascension of Chuck Fipke's Bee Jersey hit its zenith June 9 at Belmont Park.
The Jersey Town colt, who picked up his first win in his fifth start in October, took the best shot from a proven top-level winner in the $1.2-million, Grade 1 Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap and found just enough to win by a nose.
With pressure applied on the inside — albeit brief — from Bolt d'Oro, and more later on the outside from One Liner, the Grade 3 winner broke well and set the pace under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. The quarter-mile fractions went in :23.08, :45.71, and 1:09.28 through six furlongs, but Santana never asked the 4-year-old colt to stay ahead.
When the two challengers faded, only one horse was left to challenge. Multiple Grade/Group 1 winner Mind Your Biscuits rallied on the outside, but the Steve Asmussen-trained Bee Jersey dug in and prevailed in a final time of 1:33.13.
“The horse broke sharply like he always does,” Santana said. “We were sitting in a nice spot. I loved the position I was in for the first quarter. I slowed down and he came back to me. He was in a great position, and when I turned for home, I let him go a little bit. He ran an amazing race. My horse is a fighter and he showed it today.”
Limousine Liberal completed the trifecta, 5 1/4 lengths behind the top pair.
The Met Mile is part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series, giving winner Bee Jersey an automatic starting spot in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs.