Ten Things You Should Know: Met Mile
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
1) The Metropolitan Handicap is the official name of a race more commonly referred to as the Met Mile, a one-mile Grade 1 race for 3-year-olds and older. The race is held at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. This year’s edition is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, the winner will qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in October.
2) The race was first held at Morris Park from 1891 to 1904. Prior to 1897, the race was run at a 1 1/8 miles, but has been run as one mile ever since, making it one of the oldest one-mile races in the country.
3) The Met Mile was not run in 1911 and 1912 when anti-gambling legislation shut down all racing in the state of New York. Aqueduct Race Track hosted the Met Mile from 1960 to 1967 as well as in 1969 and 1975.
4) The Met Mile has traditionally been held at the end of May. In recent years, it has been the feature race on the Memorial Day program at Belmont Park. In 2014 it was moved to the Belmont Stakes undercard.
5) The 1905 edition of the Met Mile was held on the first ever day of racing at Belmont Park. That race ended in a dead heat between Sysonsby and Race King.
6) The Met Mile is part of the once prominent New York Handicap Triple Crown. The other two races are the Suburban and Brooklyn Handicaps. Only four horses have swept all three, a rare achievement. In comparison, 11 horses have won the Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. The four are Whisk Broom II (1913), Tom Fool (1953), Kelso (1961), and Fit to Fight (1984). With horses racing less, the Handicap Triple Crown has essentially been forgotten in recent years.
7) Even though the Met Mile was formerly placed in the middle of the Triple Crown series for 3-year-olds, a number of colts have won the Met. The last to do so was Honour and Glory in 1996; in winning the Met Mile, he set stakes record of 1:32 4/5.
8) In 1982, 3-year-old Conquistador Cielo won the Met Mile. His trainer, the legendary Woody Stephens, decided to run him less than a week later in the Belmont Stakes. Conquistador Cielo never ceded the lead in the Belmont and won by 14 lengths.
9) The last filly or mare to win the Met Mile was the great Gallorette in 1946. The last two to place were Honest Lady, who ran second in 2000, and Lady’s Secret, who was third in 1986.
10) Devil Diver is the only three time winner of the Met Mile (1943, 1944, and 1945). Two-time winners include: Mad Hatter (1921-22), Equipoise (1932-33), Stymie (1947-48), Forego (1976-77), and Gulch (1987-88). Equipoise was disqualified from first in 1934.