The $500,000 Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap (G1), also known as the Met Mile, is set to be the highlight on the July 4 card at Belmont Park. It is one of the top races of the Belmont Spring/Summer meet.
The winner of the Met Mile will be awarded an expenses-paid berth in the $2 million Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland on Nov. 7.
Some of the names pointing to the event include Grade 1 winners McKinzie, Code of Honor, and Vekoma.
Here is a look at the top probables for the Met Mile.
Code of Honor, McKinzie
Two of the top horses are Code of Honor and McKinzie.
W. S. Farish’s homebred Code of Honor worked a half-mile over the Belmont Park main track on June 29. The Met Mile will be his second start of the year, following a June 6 victory in the Westchester Stake (G3) over the same track. That race was his first start since the Nov. 2 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The 4-year-old Noble Mission colt breezed four furlongs in :49.73 on a surface rated good. Five days before that, he worked a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.50 on a fast track.
During his 3-year-old season, Code of Honor had big wins at 1 1/4 miles in the Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) and the Jockey Gold Club Stakes (G1). The latter was the result of a disqualification due to interference.
The Met Mile will be his first run at a mile since the Mucho Macho Man Stakes in January 2019.
He will be ridden by five-time Met Mile winner John Velazquez.
Code of Honor will be facing off against McKinzie, last year’s Whitney (G1) winner trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert.
McKinzie will be ridden by Mike Smith and is coming into the Met Mile off a win in the Triple Bend (G2) at Santa Anita on June 7. That outing resulted in his seventh graded stakes victory.
Another big contender coming into the Met Mile is Endorsed. The 4-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro is still looking for his first stakes win of his career.
He began 2020 with an allowance win at Gulfstream in January before going on to take fifth-place in the Santa Anita Handicap in March. He also took another allowance at Oaklawn in May and second a half length to Code of honor on June 6 in the Westchester (G3) at Belmont.
The rest of the probable field (trainer) is: Network Effect (C. Brown); Hog Creek Hustle (V. Foley); Warrior’s Change (B. Cox); Vekoma (G. Weaver); and Mr Freeze (D. Romans).
Spooky Express Free Pick – McKinzie
Spooky Express is your Horse Racing Handicapping headquarters, home of the best Betting Tips from Top Level Elite Handicappers including daily free plays and the best Sports & Racebook Bonuses available! To read each individual handicapping breakdowns from this week in horse racing, CLICK HERE!