A pair of Grade 1 events, the $1 million Metropolitan H. and $500,000 Ogden Phipps S., highlight a trio of graded stakes on the main track for older horses on Saturday’s Belmont Stakes Day undercard.
Metropolitan (G1) – Race 9 (4:42 p.m. ET)
A convincing winner of the Pegasus World Cup (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), Knicks Go will try to rebound in the $1 million Metropolitan H. (G1) following a fourth in the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1) on Feb. 20. The five-year-old gray horse will be favored over five rivals.
Knicks Go should appreciate the cutback in trip. Trained by Brad Cox, the son of Paynter reeled off four consecutive wins before traveling overseas, leading wire-to-wire every time, and he will be the one to catch in the Met Mile with regular rider Joel Rosario.
Mischevious Alex will stretch out in distance with a three-race win streak, scoring by 5 1/2 lengths most recently in the seven-furlong Carter H. (G1) on April 3. Saffie Joseph Jr. conditions the four-year-old Into Mischief colt, who has registered Brisnet Speed ratings as high as 110, and Mischevious Alex will look to rally from just off the pace with Irad Ortiz Jr.
Three-time Grade 2 victor By My Standards will make the second start of his five-year-old season following a win in the April 10 Oaklawn Mile S. An earner of more than $2 million, the Bret Calhoun trainee will have Gabe Saez in the saddle. Oaklawn H. (G2) scorer Silver State, a winner of five straight for Steve Asmussen, will bring improving form to his first Grade 1 start. Ricardo Santana Jr. guides.
Westchester S. (G3) winner Dr Post and Churchill Downs S. (G1) runner-up Lexitonian complete the lineup.
Ogden Phipps (G1) – Race 7 (3:18 p.m. ET)
Apple Blossom H. (G1) winner Letruska and La Troienne S. (G1) heroine Shedaresthedevil are top draws in a dynamite edition of the $500,000 Ogden Phipps S. (G1). Seven fillies and mares are set for the 1 1/16-mile test.
Letruska exits a game win in the April 17 Apple Blossom, re-rallying gamely to score by a nose over sidelined champion Monomoy Girl. A champion in Mexico before being sent to the U.S., the Kentucky-bred Super Saver mare has recorded graded stakes wins in three of her last four starts for trainer Fausto Gutierrez, the lone setback being a head second in the Azeri S. (G2) in which she didn’t display her customary early speed. Irad Ortiz will guide the classy five-year-old.
Winner of the Azeri, Shedaresthedevil exits a comfortable one-length tally in the April 30 La Troienne, and the four-year-old Daredevil filly was flattered when runner-up Envoutante came back to easily win last Saturday’s Shawnee S. She’s won five of her last six starts for trainer Brad Cox, and Shedaresthedevil will be forwardly-placed with Florent Geroux.
Champion three-year-old filly Swiss Skydiver, an easy winner of the Beholder Mile (G1) in her seasonal opener, will try to bounce back after a third in the Apple Blossom. Jose Ortiz will take over the mount aboard the chestnut for Kenny McPeek. Valiance, who defeated Shedaresdthedevil in the Spinster S. (G1) two starts back, will make her first appearance since a second to Monomoy Girl in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). Regular rider Luis Saez has the call on the gray five-year-old for Todd Pletcher.
Rounding out the field is Bonny South, winner of the April 16 Doubledogdare S. (G3) at Keeneland; Queen Nekia, who captured the Royal Delta S. (G3) at Gulfstream two back; and Water White, runner-up in the May 2 Ruffian S. (G2) at Belmont.
Lone Rock, Moretti, and Tizamagician lead a competitive field of nine older runners in the $400,000 Brooklyn S. (G2) at 1 1/2 miles.
A reformed claimer, Lone Rock enters in top form for Robertino Diodoro following a 3 3/4-length triumph in the April 27 Isaac Murphy Marathon S. at Churchill Downs. The six-year-old gelding has won three of four starts this year, with Speed ratings as high as 106, and Ramon Vasquez will be in to ride the early/presser.
Moretti will be dangerous if ready after the 307-day layoff. Trained by Pletcher, the five-year-old recorded wins in the Flat Out S. and Birdstone S. at marathon distances last summer before heading to the sidelines. Irad Ortiz rides.
Tizamagician invades from California for Hall of Famer Richard Mandella after recording a nine-length win in the April 18 Tokyo City S. (G3) at Santa Anita. Flavien Prat will be up.
Other contestants include Musical Heart, Rocketry, and Ry’s the Guy.