By Eric Cohen
I’m a sucker when it comes to betting horse racing especially when it comes to premiere races.
There’s a significant difference in tossing a few bucks on a $10,000 Maiden claimer as
compared to the elite races in the sport.
Usually contested on Belmont Stakes Day, the Metropolitan Handicap, most notably known as
the “Met Mile” at Belmont Park showcases some of the best 4 year old and up horses in the
country. And this year’s version is no exception.
The most impressive Met Mile in recent memory was by Frosted in 2016, a colt who likely will
be known as the second best horse of his class behind only triple crown winner American
His 14 1/4 length romp in 2016’s version produced a staggering 123 Beyer Speed Figure…a
number reserved for only the most elite of horses and very, VERY rarely replicated.
While we likely won’t see that again this year, here’s a breakdown of the race and how I’d play
(1) — Network Effect (8-1): Last year’s winner of this race, Mitole, had a 108 Beyer Speed
Figure and while this colt seems to be improving, he’s never topped 96 in his eight race career.
(2) — Vekoma (5-2): Has one five of seven in his career with the only clunker having been over
the slop in last year’s Kentucky Derby. Just ran an eye popping 110 in the Grade I Carter
Handicap over a sloppy Belmont surface last month. Improving and primed. THE PICK
(3) — McKinzie (2-1): Finished second to Mitole last year despite getting a terrible trip. His
speed figures are consistently the best in the field but I’m not convinced he’s the same horse as
a 5 year-old that he was the last two years. Also, he seems to have a case of “seconditis” as I
call it. USE UNDERNEATH
(4) — Hog Creek Hustle (30-1): Hasn’t won since upsetting last year’s G1 Woody Stephens on
Belmont Stakes Day at 19-1. PASS
(5) — Code of Honor (3-1): I’m a big fan of this horse. I was all over him for the Travers Stakes
at Saratoga last year and he came up big winning the “Midsummer Derby” by three lengths.
Running his second race of 2020 and coming off a win last month, he might be primed for a big
effort. THE SECOND CHOICE
(6) — Endorsed (10-1): Nearly went wire-to-wire to beat Code of Honor in last month’s
Westchester on a muddy track only to fall short. Nice horse but seems to be in too deep here.
(7) — Mr Freeze (8-1): Romped in the Grade II Gulfstream Park Mile at the end of February and
certainly fits with this group. Probably not a bad idea to include him in the trifecta. USE
(8) — Warriors Charge (12-1): Here’s the upset pick of the group. Looks to go wire-to-wire
every time out with a superior frontrunning jockey in Florent Geroux. If he’s the lone speed,
watch out. Either way, I’m throwing him in my trifecta just in case. USE UNDERNEATH
$1 Trifecta ($18)
2,5 with 2,3,5,8 with 2,3,5,7,8
$10 exacta box ($20)
$20 to win on 2
As a bonus, here’s a $0.50 Pick 4 ticket ($32) for what should be a brilliant sequence of all
graded stakes races on Saturday at Belmont Park:
Note: If it’s an off-track, cancel the Pick 4 plays. My bets for the Met Mile aren’t affected by
the weather. Let’s see if I can produce return on my $90 investment!
Eric Cohen is co-host of The Daily Blender (M-F 3-6pm) on 1580 The