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Dan Fitch

Other than the Belmont Stakes itself, bettors will struggle to find another more historic race during the meet than the Metropolitan Handicap. In our complete guide to this mile contest that celebrates the metropolis of The Big Apple, you get the lowdown right here.

What is the Met Mile Horse Race?

Alternatively known as the ‘Met Mile’ and the Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap for sponsorship reasons, this is a Grade I thoroughbred horse race on dirt. Although open to horses aged three and up, it is older runners that have dominated in recent years.

Contested as a handicap based on NYRA ratings of the horses entered, it normally takes place at Belmont Park. The Metropolitan Handicap is a key part of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

Due to a major development of Belmont Park by the race organizers, however, the entire meet moves to Saratoga Race Course for 2024 and 2025. The 2024 Met Mile takes place on Saturday, June 8, as one of the supporting races on Belmont Stakes day.

Metropolitan Handicap History

Cody's Wish won the Metropolitan Handicap in 2023

First run way back in 1891 at Morris Park, the Met Mile had an inaugural race distance of nine furlongs (1,800m). That was until it was reduced in length to the current distance of a mile (1,600m) six years later. When Morris Park closed in 1904 that paved the way for the move to Belmont Park.

It has with a few exceptions remained there ever since. Aqueduct hosted the race between 1960 and 1967, and it headed back there in 1969 and 1975. Since 1976 it has only been run at Belmont Park, so the Met Mile 2024 at Saratoga will be the first time the race moves upstate and out of New York City.

It was the first of three races that formed the New York Handicap Triple series, along with the Suburban Handicap and the Brooklyn Handicap. Whisk Broom II (1913), Tom Fool (1953), Kelso (1961) and Fit to Fight (1984) are the only four horses to have won the Triple. With the Met Mile and Brooklyn Stakes run on the same day, it’s now impossible for horses to do this.

John M. Gaver Sr teamed up with Greentree Stable for six victories (1940, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1953 and 1963). They are the winningest trainer and owners in Metropolitan Handicap history. The most successful jockey, meanwhile, is John Velazquez. He has five wins in the Met Mile (1996, 1999, 2010, 2012 and 2014).

Frosted was a notable winner in 2016, when the horse set the time record of 1:32.73 and the record for biggest margin of victory, having won by 14 and 1/4 lengths.

Recent Met Mile Winners

Some of the most popular horses in training are Metropolitan Handicap winners over the last ten years. Flightline became the world’s highest rated thoroughbred after following-up on Belmont success with Pacific Classic and Breeders’ Cup triumphs. That shows the Met Mile can still be a path to equine greatness.

Two-time Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile hero Cody’s Wish landed the edition before Belmont Park closed for renovation. Here are all the winners of this Grade I handicap from 2014 onwards:

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer
2024 National Treasure 4 Flavien Prat Bob Baffert
2023 Cody’s Wish 5 Junior Alvarado William I. Mott
2022 Flightline 4 Flavien Prat John W. Sadler
2021 Silver State 4 Ricardo Santana Jr Steven Asmussen
2020 Vekoma 4 Javier Castellano George Weaver
2019 Mitole 4 Ricardo Santana Jr Steven Asmussen
2018 Bee Jersey 4 Ricardo Santana Jr Steven Asmussen
2017 Mor Spirit 4 Mike E. Smith Bob Baffert
2016 Frosted 4 Joel Rosario Kiaran McLaughlin
2015 Honor Code 4 Javier Castellano Shug McGaughey
2014 Palace Malice 4 John Velazquez Todd Pletcher

Metropolitan Handicap 2024 Picks

A small but select six runners go for the Met Mile this year. Our expert handicappers’ picks based on form and best prices available through Belmont Stakes racebooks online found the winner National Treasure this year.

2024 Metropolitan Handicap Post Position Draw

Post positions for the Met Mile come out with the draw for the race. This happens earlier in the same week as the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. There are six in the field this year. Here are the gates each runner has from the post position draw with their Morning Line odds:

  1. Castle Chaos (118lbs) – 20-1
  2. National Treasure (125lbs) – 8-5
  3. Post Time (120lbs) – 7-2
  4. Blazing Sevens (122lbs) – 8-1
  5. Hoist The Gold (120lbs) – 15-1
  6. White Abarrio (126lbs) – 6-5

Key Stats & Trends for the Met Mile

It makes sense to look at recent results and statistics before placing any bets on this race. To that end, the Met Mile and Belmont Stakes results of the last ten years can help.

Looking back over this period, it’s hard to ignore the performances of jockey Ricardo Santana Jr and trainer Steven Asmussen. When teaming up, they have won the race three times in 2018, 2019 and 2021.

As mentioned earlier, John Velazquez is the most successful jockey in Met Mile history with five victories. The last of these was a decade ago back in 2014. Yet Velazquez has an additional second place and a third spot from nine rides in the last decade.

Javier Castellano is another jockey with a strong record and three wins in total. Two came within the last ten years (2015 and 2020). From six rides over the last decade, Castellano has also had a third.

When it comes to other successful trainers, no one has come close to matching Asmussen’s achievements over the past ten years. Todd Pletcher has had one win, two second places and one third, but this comes from a total of 13 runners.

Favorites have done well at the Met Mile, with six wins and two second places over the last decade. The favorite has won the race in each of the last two years, with Cody’s Wish triumphing in 2023 and Flightline having done likewise in 2022. They both came out of Gate 1 when they won the Met Mile.

Low draws have fared well in recent years. Gate 3 produced the winner in 2021 and 2019, with Gate 2 successful in 2020. It should be noted, though, that these races took place at Belmont Park. Saratoga now hosts the 2024 and 2025 editions.


Where can I bet on the Metropolitan Handicap online?

When is the Met Mile?

Who is the top jockey in the Metropolitan Handicap?

What is prize money like for the Met Mile?

Dan Fitch
Dan Fitch

Nobody is more clued up on past payouts, results and winners of the Belmont Stakes than stats man Dan. He has the history of this great race nailed down.