Thoroughbred Daily News
Quality Road - Paris Notion, by Dehere - Lane's End
Lane's End - Versailles, KY | 2014 | Entered Stud 2019 | 2019 Fee $35,000

Met A Supporting Act in Name Only


McKinzie | Horsephotos

By Alan Carasso

Though it technically plays second fiddle to the GI Belmont S. some two hours later, Saturday’s running of the GI Runhappy Metropolitan H. is arguably the race of the year, with a mixture of horses proven at trips of a mile and further taking on some progressive types with best form up to the eight-furlong distance.

TDN Rising Star‘ McKinzie (Street Sense) looms the betting choice as he attempts to give trainer Bob Baffert his second Met victory in three years (Mor Spirit, 2017). The $170,000 Keeneland September bargain is perfect in two appearances around one turn, including an eye-catching 4 3/4-length success in the GI Malibu S. last December. Runner-up back at two turns in the GII San Pasqual S. and the GI Santa Anita H., the bay looked in some trouble when buried down inside in the GII Alysheba S. at Churchill May 3. Eased back and into the clear for the drive, he blasted away to defeat admittedly overmatched foes by 4 3/4 lengths. Having drawn gate two here, it will be interesting to see what sort of trip he works out beneath two-time Met winner Mike Smith.

Thunder Snow (Ire) (Helmet {Aus}) returns to the scene of his near-miss effort in last year’s GI Jockey Club Gold Cup as he tries a mile on dirt for the first time since finishing second in the G2 Al Maktoum Challenge-R2 in January 2018. A resilient third to champion Accelerate (Lookin At Lucky) in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic in November, the homebred was a short horse when a distant second in Round 3 of the G1 Al Maktoum Challenge (2000m) but came on for the effort to become the first to go back-to-back in the G1 Dubai World Cup when last spotted Mar. 30. Christophe Soumillon flies in for the ride.

TDN Rising Star‘ Coal Front (Stay Thirsty), also victorious on World Cup night, can be a major player at bettable odds from the one hole. A determined winner of the GIII Razorback H. when trying two turns for the first time at Oaklawn Feb. 18, he was consigned to a tough trip from a wide gate in the G2 Godolphin Mile, but he raced handy to the pace and pulled out just enough late to account for course specialist Heavy Metal (GB) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}).

Mitole (Eskendereya), by the sire of the aforementioned Mor Spirit, is very much the now horse in this year’s Met, but has some questions to answer as he stretches out to the mile. Laid off following a towering defeat of subsequent Grade II winner Still Having Fun (Old Fashioned) in the Chick Lang S. last May, the bay earned a career-best 108 Beyer Speed Figure in defeating GII True North S. hopeful Whitmore (Pleasantly Perfect) in the GIII Count Fleet Sprint H. and successfully negotiated seven-eighths of a mile with a stalk-and-pounce score in the GI Churchill Downs S. May 4. His well-traveled owner thinks the world of him.

“I’ve been in racing a long time and he’s the fastest I’ve ever had,” Bill Heiligbrodt said. “He’s an unusual horse in the way he runs and trains. He never looks like he’s going as fast as he is. He just does things so easy.”

The Met is a ‘Win and You’re In’ challenge race for the GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

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