HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - MARCH 28: Quality Road ridden by jockey John Velazquez comes around turn four in first place on his way to winning the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 28, 2009 in Hallandale Beach, Florida. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Two grade one races taking place on Memorial Day with the Met Mile at Belmont and the Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park/ Out at Monmouth Park in New Jersey it's day five of Survival at theShore.
-Grade 1 Metropolitan Mile
Post time: 5:49 Eastern / 2:49 Pacific
It's difficult to make a strong case for a lot of the contenders in this race as Quality Road is the clear standout if current form holds true. Trying to beat the chalk with a closer like Musket Man or Warrior's Reward could be a decent play if you think Quality Road might get into a bit of a duel on the front end. However, I might lean in a bit of a different direction if I were to try and find an upset play, and that would be with the outside speed horse, Le Grand Cru (15/1). I think the only way Quality Road doesn't win today is if he fails fire out of the gate and isn't able to get into the race early (an unlikely scenario). If Le Grand Cru can get to the front uncontested, I think he'd have a shot. Unfortunately, I don't know that there is going to be much value available given Quality Road's stature.
-The other Grade 1 event on the day is the Shoremaker Mile on the Hollywood Park turf course. I like the 8-Karelian (3/1) in this spot if, and only if, Bejarano allows Mr Gruff and Compari to race to the lead allowing Karelian to sit just off their pace. If he gets into a speed duel with those two it's probably all over, but a stalking trip would suit him nicely.
3-Gallant Son (6/1) should get plenty to run at in the lane and he's coming off a career best performance in the Grade 3 Inglewood back on April 25th. This group might be a little more than he can handle but it's possible that he'll get involved in the exotics.
Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile
1 mile (Turf)
Post time: 8:07 Eastern / 5:07 Pacific
-Once again, I barely scrapped through Survival at the Shore, as Ask the Moon held the show position at odds of 27/1 in the final leg of the sequence. A win in that spot would have been nice since my bankroll is quite flat at this point.
Today's sequence involves races 7, 8, and 11.
The first leg in today's contest is a N2X sprint for New Jersey-breds, a race that I couldn't find a whole lot that I liked. I ended up with 11-Just a Lion (12/1) as a price play due to this gelding's grind-it-out style that I'm hoping will be able to secure at least at top three finish; I'll feel fortunate if I'm able to cash anything in this leg.
There was quite a bit to choose from in race 8, an OC 80K event going a mile on the turf course. Ever a Friend took morning line favoritism at 5/2, but this gelding has seemed to have trouble putting more than one or two good starts together before heading to the bench for extended R&R. I'm going to try and beat him with the 4-Rogue Victory (8/1), a George Weaver trainee that should appreciate a little bit of class relief after trying Grade 1 company at Keeneland the last time he touched the lawn. The pace looks to be honest which should give Rogue Victory every opportunity to make a run in the lane.
The final leg in the sequence is race 11, a N2X allowance event going six furlongs. Most of this field has spent their time facing a variety of N1X competition, but 5-Sophie's Meatball (12/1) is coming out of a very nice performance against open company $35k claimers at Delaware, a race that featured several horses that have done a fair amount of winning in their careers. This will be a tough group for her to handle, but I'm willing to take a shot at 12/1.