Keying Bee Jersey in the Metropolitan Handicap

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

June 6th, 2018

If you’re looking for a great betting race to play this Saturday, look no further than the $1.2 million Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park.

The historic “Met Mile” has drawn eleven starters, but lacks a clear standout. As a result, the odds on several appealing contenders could be enticing and open up the possibility of making a truly memorable score.

Generally speaking, I prefer to lean against sprinters stretching out in distance for the Met Mile and prefer the chances of proven milers or horses cutting back in distance from longer races. That’s one reason why I’m drawn to #10 Bee Jersey, who has posted three straight wins going a mile this year for trainer Steve Asmussen. The son of Jersey Town was never headed in any of those races and simply crushed his opposition to record winning margins of six lengths, 7 ¾ lengths, and 5 ½ lengths while shipping from Oaklawn to Keeneland and Lone Star Park. His most recent victory—an easy triumph in the Steve Sexton Mile (gr. III)—was his best yet, as he posted a strong 106 BRIS speed figure while easily defeating the next-out graded stakes winner Shotgun Kowboy.

On paper, there doesn’t appear to be much speed in the Met Mile, so Bee Jersey should have every chance to get out in front and play “catch me if you can” with his rivals. And judging from the authoritative manner of Bee Jersey’s last three victories, I think his rivals will chase in vain.

#1 Mind Your Biscuits, a two-time winner of the Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) in Dubai, has been campaigned primarily as a sprinter but did finish second in the Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) last December, suggesting that the late-running son of Posse could be a player while stretching out in distance for the Metropolitan. #2 Bolt d’Oro, the lone three-year-old in the field, has the speed figures to compete at this level but could only finish twelfth over a sloppy track in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) last month, leaving me to wonder whether he’s regressing or simply didn’t care for the wet track. #11 Awesome Slew finished fourth in the Met Mile last year and later won the one-mile Ack Ack Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs, so we know this distance is within his capabilities and his form this year is as good as ever. #6 One Liner needs to step up his game a bit in terms of speed figures, but did win the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) in an impressive performance last year and has enough tactical speed to be a pace player for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Let’s shuffle this all together and attempt to come up with a winning strategy:

$14 to win on #10 Bee Jersey ($14) $4 exacta: 10 with 1,11 ($6) $3 exacta: 1,11 with 10 ($6) $1 trifecta: 10 with 1,2,6,11 with 1,2,6,11 ($12) $1 trifecta: 1,2,6,11 with 10 with 1,2,6,11 ($12)

Total: $50

Good luck!