Charles Fipke’s homebred colt BEE JERSEY ran his win streak to four while earning earned his first Grade 1 score with a nose victory over multiple Grade/Group 1 winner Mind Your Biscuits in a thrilling rendition of the $1.2-million Metropolitan Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park on Saturday.
From the 10th post in the field of 11, Bee Jersey broke cleanly and went to the front under Ricardo Santana Jr. with Bolt d’Oro tracking him early. Bolt d’Oro backed out of it and yielded to One Liner on the far turn, but Bee Jersey rebuked that challenge as well before holding Mind Your Biscuits at bay through a final quarter of :23.85. The chestnut completed a mile over the fast main track in 1:33.13.
“I got in a nice spot and loved my position,” Santana said of avoiding a wide trip from the 10 hole. “I was able to slow it down coming to the quarter-pole, and when we turned for home I let him go and he rolled. When (Mind Your Biscuits) came up on us, he dug in and gave me more.”
Bee Jersey began his career in Dubai before joining Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen’s barn last summer. The Jersey Town four-year-old colt has now won five of six starts stateside, including the Steve Sexton Mile (G3) at Lone Star Park in his U.S. stakes debut last out. His overall record now stands at 10-5-3-1, $976,292.
“We knew he was extremely talented and felt confident going into the Steve Sexton Mile, and he delivered an impressive performance, but the work he has put in since that race coming into today made us feeling very confident coming into (the Met Mile),” Asmussen said. “This has been the target from the beginning of the year, and now we’ll regroup and map out a plan to the (November 3) Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile ([G1] at Churchill Downs).”
Bee Jersey now has a pair of one-mile stakes wins – the two-turn Sexton and one-turn Met. The Breeders’ Cup is one turn this year since it’s at Churchill Downs, and while Asmussen thinks Bee Jersey would benefit from an extra turn, he’s not concerned about the configuration at his home track.
“I think he benefits from two turns because speed is such a weapon, and he can run away and hide from the field for a ways,” Asmussen said. “But Churchill is his home track, and when you can go 1:33 for a mile it doesn’t matter how many turns, you’re going to win a lot of races.”
Mind Your Biscuits ran a game second while giving four pounds to the winner. Trainer Chad Summers said the Posse five-year-old has a lot of options with big wins at six furlongs and no problem staying the mile in the Met Mile.
“The one hole and the four pounds might have made the difference, but I’m proud of him,” Summers said. “We have a lot of options with the different Breeders’ Cup races; we’ll regroup. They ran big races.”
Limousine Liberal broke in the back but settled midpack and stayed on for third 5 1/4 lengths behind Mind Your Biscuits. Completing the order of finish were Discreet Lover, Ransom the Moon, McCraken, Good Samaritan, Awesome Slew, One Liner, Warrior’s Club and Bolt d’Oro.