2021 Metropolitan Handicap at a Glance

Racing
Knicks Go, above winning the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes, appears to be formidable in the Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap June 5 at Belmont Park. (Eclipse Sportswire)

While the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets is the headliner of the Saturday card at Belmont Park, the Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap commands plenty of attention by itself.

Metropolitan Handicap

Racetrack: Belmont Park, Elmont, N.Y.
Date: June 5
Purse: $1 million
Distance: One mile
Race: 9
Post time: 4:42 p.m. ET
Notable winners: Mitole (2019), Quality Road (2010), Ghostzapper (2005), Holy Bull (1994), Forego (1976, 1977), Arts and Letters (1969), Buckpasser (1967), Gun Bow (1965), Carry Back (1962), Kelso (1961), Sword Dancer (1959), Gallant Man (1958), Native Dancer (1954), Tom Fool (1953), Stymie (1947, 1948), Gallorette (1946), Devil Diver (1943, 1944, 1945), Eight Thirty (1941), Equipoise (1932, 1933), Sarazen (1926), Grey Lag (1923), Whisk Broom II (1913), and Sysonby (1905).
First held: 1891

Commonly known as the Met Mile, the race was first held at the old Morris Park in 1891. It was the feature race on the first day of racing at Belmont Park in 1905, when the great Sysonby finished in a dead-heat for the win with longshot Race King.

Traditionally held on Memorial Day, the race was moved to the Belmont Stakes undercard in 2014. The race carries a purse of $1 million, and is also part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series. The winner will receive a spot in the starting gate for the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Del Mar on Nov. 7.

1. Mischevious Alex (5-2 morning-line odds): He showed some promise last year, winning a pair of Grade 3 races. However, he’s truly blossomed as a 4-year-old. He’s a perfect 3-for-3 on the year, winning all his races by at least 3 ¼ lengths. In his last start, he won the Grade 1 Carter Handicap by 5 ½ lengths, stalking the pace and drawing off impressively. He’ll look to keep building on what’s been a breakthrough season so far.

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.; Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.

2. Dr Post (9-2): He was Grade 1-placed twice in 2020. Last June, he finished second in the Belmont Stakes behind Tiz the Law, then was third in the TVG.com Haskell Stakes. In his lone start as a 4-year-old, he won the Grade 3 Westchester Stakes at Belmont on May 1. He’s the only horse in the race who has won a stakes on this track. John Velazquez, who has not ridden him since his maiden win at Gulfstream Park in March 2020, gets the mount. Velazquez has won the Met Mile a record five times.

Jockey: John Velazquez; Trainer: Todd Pletcher

3. Silver State (7-2): This Steve Asmussen trainee enters this race on a five-race winning streak. He won three stakes races at Oaklawn Park in the winter, all of them in hard-fought, dramatic fashion. Last out, he won the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap by half a length, for his first graded stakes win. As a closer, he’s hoping for a fast early pace to run into. Asmussen is looking for his third Met Mile win in the past four years. He also won with Bee Jersey in 2018 and Mitole in 2019.

Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.; Trainer: Steve Asmussen

4. Lexitonian (20-1): He almost pulled off a shocker in the Grade 1 Churchill Downs Stakes Presented by Ford. In a dramatic stretch run, he made a bid toward the center of the track in the final quarter-mile but could not hold off Flagstaff, who surged by him to win by a head. Lexitonian held off Whitmore for second. He’s won two stakes races in his career but none since July 2019. His speed figures are a cut below those of the top contenders. It would be a surprise to see him get it done here.

weekend TV schedule

Thursday, June 3: 3 p.m.-8:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, June 4: 12:30 p.m.-5 p.m. ET and 6 p.m.-7 p.m. on FS2; 5 p.m.-6 p.m. on NBCSN; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, June 5: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.-8:15 p.m. on FS2; 3 p.m.-5 p.m. on NBCSN; 5 p.m.-7 p.m. on NBC; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, June 6: 12:30 p.m.-6 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione; Trainer: Jack Sisterton

5. By My Standards (10-1): He had an impressive 4-year-old campaign last year, with three graded stakes victories. After two disappointing performances against Grade 1 company to cap his campaign, he was given a few months off and returned with a nose win in the Oaklawn Mile Stakes over Rushie. He’ll look to improve in his second start off the long layoff. Look for him to rate just off the pace and make his move as they round the far turn.

Jockey: Gabriel Saez; Trainer: Bret Calhoun

6. Knicks Go (6-5): His last two American races have been very impressive. He won the Grade 1 Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland last November by 3 ½ lengths, setting a new track record in the process. In his 2021 debut, he went gate-to-wire in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes and crossed the finish line 2 ¾ lengths in front. He finished fourth in the Group 1 Saudi Cup in his most recent start, but has had a string of strong workouts since mid-April in preparation for his stateside return. There’s not much speed in the race, so if he can get away with an uncontested lead, he may prove very tough to catch.

Jockey: Joel Rosario; Trainer: Brad Cox

THE PICK: Knicks Go

LIVE LONGSHOT: Silver State

SUPERFECTA: 6-1-3-5

2021 Hill 'N' Dale Metropolitan H.
June 5th, 2021

Winning Time: 1:35.45
  • Purse: $1,000,000
  • Distance: 1 Mile
  • Age: 3 yo's & up
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Winning Time: 1:35.45
Results
Win
Place
Show
1st
3 Silver State
$13.40
$6.30
$3.80
2nd
5 By My Standards
$7.40
$3.70
3rd
1 Mischevious Alex
$3.30
4th
6 Knicks Go
5th
2 Dr Post
6th
4 Lexitonian
Payoff
Pick 3
3-8-3
3-8-3
$191
Daily Double
(2 DAY NY-MET MILE DOUBLE)
(2 DAY NY-MET MILE DOUBLE)
$30
Daily Double
8-3
8-3
$71
Exacta
3-5
3-5
$50
Superfecta
3-5-1-6
3-5-1-6
$31
Trifecta
3-5-1
3-5-1
$89
Payoff
Pick 3
3-8-3
3-8-3
$191
Daily Double
(2 DAY NY-MET MILE DOUBLE)
(2 DAY NY-MET MILE DOUBLE)
$30
Daily Double
8-3
8-3
$71
Exacta
3-5
3-5
$50
Superfecta
3-5-1-6
3-5-1-6
$31
Trifecta
3-5-1
3-5-1
$89

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