It seems that just about every major handicapper is picking Bribon to win today's Met Mile at Belmont racetrack. But I'm not one of those people.
I definitely respect Alan Garcia and his very talented horse, but this is how I see the race unfolding:
If you want to see very good horses with exceptional speed at eight furlongs, this is the event for you. Accredit, Imperial Council, Mr. Fantasy, and Driven by Success will all be vying for the early lead when the gate opens.
These four horses, along with the stalker Smooth Air will be battling for position for the first four furlongs. Expect the time for the half-mile to be run in a very quick 45. As the group goes around the far turn, the "good" horses will begin to feel the pressure from the "very good" horses, and the race will be in full throttle.
As good as Bribon is, I really like Mr. Fantasy to hold him off. The stretch run in this race is going to be absolutely spectacular because of the talented but inconsistent horses like The Roundhouse and Mr. Sidney.
Mr. Fantasy is my pick to narrowly hold off numerous horses as they hit the wire. In his last race at Aqueduct, Mr. Fantasy won the Grade III Withers in 1:34 and chance while carrying 116 pounds. Today, he's carrying only 109 pounds, and I love his workout at Belmont on May 16; he ran five furlongs in under 61 seconds.
Bribon is the class of the race and has also won four of nine starts at this distance, but he hasn't put together two great starts in over a year. Still, his monster win at Belmont last June is something that shouldn't be forgotten.
I really like a lot of horses to finish right behind the top two. I'm going to pick a long shot for third even though he's taking a huge step up in class; I think Famous Patriot can grab a share based on his two wins in two starts at Belmont and his two wins in three starts at a mile.
This race shapes as potentially thrilling, and it wouldn't completely shock me if the race was won in near track-record time.
My final prediction: Mr. Fantasy, Bribon, and then either Famous Patriot, Smooth Air, or Mr. Sidney in under 1 minute and 34 seconds.