Monday, May 25, 2009

Terry's Horses To Watch For The Met Mile

Belmont Park

Marc Keller's Bribon and Mount Joy Stable's Smooth Air headline a field of 12 horses in the Grade I $600,000 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on Memorial Day. With the handlers of multiple Grade I winner Commentator deciding to skip this race and look for a little softer spot, the Met Mile has brought out a lot of horses looking to move into the Grade I spotlight themselves and this race looks to be wide open.

He has looked sharp in recent starts and moved 5 wide on the turn to overcome a 5 length deficit and then held on to win the Grade III Westchester in his last start. He was soundly beaten by Smooth Air two back in the Gulfstream Handicap but is 6 for 6 in the money at Belmont. He has the highest last race Beyer number in the field and Garcia stays aboard who is 43% with trainer Robert Ribaudo over the past year.

Smooth Air
He was overmatched in the Breeders' Cup Classic last fall but has looked sharp in his two outings this year. He won the Gulfstream Park Handicap and comes to this race well rested since then. This is his first try at the one turn mile but he looks to be the main rival. Lopez rides for Bennie Stutts.

Driven By Success
He ran 3rd but only 2 lengths back of Kodiak Cowboy in the Grade I Carter at the Big A and looks to have the speed to stay on the pace here. The outside draw hurts but he reunites with Dominguez who rode him to a 3 race win streak against state breds over the winter and the Bruce Levine barn always deserves a look.

Led throughout on a sloppy track in the Grade II Churchill Downs Handicap in his last to beat a couple of today's rivals. However, today's distance is a furlong farther than he has ever gone. He will certainly be close to the pace if not on the lead but the question is whether he can stay there. Coa rides for Michael Maker.

The Roundhouse
He was running late to finish 3rd in the CD Handicap but is usually close in the end. Dual mid 90's Beyers in his last two indicate he may be ready for a big effort today and Prado stays aboard for Todd Pletcher.

My Pal Charlie
Couldn't quite get to Accredit in the CD Handicap and finished a length back but should like the added distance today as he is 2 for 4 at a mile. That effort may signal he is ready for a big race today and Cornelio Velasquez takes the mount for Albert Stahl.