Why I'm betting Firenze Fire in the 2019 Met Mile

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

June 5th, 2019

The Belmont Stakes (G1) is going to be an exciting race, but from a sporting standpoint, the highlight of the spectacular June 8  card at Belmont Park is the $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap (G1).

The field for this prestigious one-mile race is packed with some of the best older horses in training. There’s #2 McKinzie, a two-time grade 1 winner entering off a dominant performance in the Alysheba Stakes (G2). There’s #4 Thunder Snow, a two-time winner of the Dubai World Cup (G1), and #1 Coal Front, the gutsy winner of the Godolphin Mile (G2). And don't forget the up-and-coming sprinter #3 Mitole, who cruised to a decisive score in the Churchill Downs Stakes (G1) to extend his winning streak to six.

You could side with any one of those four and feel good about your chances, but the horse I want to play in this competitive field is #7 Firenze Fire. His overall form isn’t quite as flashy, but this Jason Servis-trained 4-year-old is undefeated in three starts at Belmont, a record that includes a victory over the one-turn-mile distance in the 2017 Champagne Stakes (G1).
Firenze Fire seems like a different horse whenever he runs at Belmont. Remember last summer, when he cut back to a mile for the Dwyer Stakes (G3) and crushed a quality field by nine lengths, clocking the distance in 1:33.74 to post a 107 Beyer speed figure? His Dwyer performance was a huge improvement off his previous form on the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail.
And look at what happened when Firenze Fire returned to Belmont for last month’s six-furlong Runhappy Stakes. In a big step forward off his prior form, he blew the doors off five rivals, winning easily by 4 3/4 lengths with a 106 Beyer.
The Met Mile should be perfect fit for Firenze Fire, and there should be no shortage of early speed to set up his late run. Mitole, Coal Front and #6 Promises Fulfilled all figured to be involved from the outset, with McKinzie and #9 Prince Lucky right behind them. If the pace is heated through the first six furlongs, I expect Firenze Fire to unleash a devastating turn of foot and win going away.

If Firenze Fire holds at his 4-1 morning-line odds, I’ll happily bet him to win. Regardless of his starting odds, I’ll key him on top in the trifecta and single him in a double with #8 Bricks and Mortar in the Manhattan Stakes (G1).

$12 to win on #7 Firenze Fire $12 double: 7 with 8 $2 trifecta: 7 with 2 with 1,3,4,5 ($8) $2 trifecta: 7 with 1,3,4,5 with 2 ($8)

Good luck!