Longtime fans of Thoroughbred racing no doubt have fond memories of spending their Memorial Day watching horses like Ghostzapper, Holy Bull, Forego, Arts and Letters, Buckpasser, and Kelso shine in the Metropolitan Handicap. After spending the last six years on the Belmont Stakes day program, the COVID-19 pandemic and revised racing schedules have led to the Met Mile returning to a holiday program.
Many of the top Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic contenders through the years have come out of the Triple Crown races and proven themselves to be elite 1 ¼-mile racehorses either as 3-year-olds or sometimes not until they are 4 or 5. Others, like Tom’s d’Etat, require a little more patience.
Now 7 years old, the bay horse by leading sire Smart Strike had shown promise early in his career with several runaway victories, but in the last eight months Tom’s d’Etat has emerged as a truly elite older male.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the traditional Thoroughbred racing calendar, the upcoming schedule for the July 4 holiday weekend offers both a prep race for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (the Los Alamitos Derby) and a major Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” qualifier in the form of the $500,000, Grade 1 Runhappy Metropolitan H