Remaining on target for the Grade 1, $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., on June 8 is multiple graded stakes winner McKinzie. The 4-year-old son of Street Sense owned by Karl Watson, Michael Pegram, and Paul Weitman, has made three starts this year for trainer Bob Baffert, beginning his 2019 campaign with a pair of second-place finishes at Santa Anita Park in the G2 San Pasqual and G1 Santa Anita Handicap before winning the G2 Alysheba on May 3 at Churchill Downs by an impressive 4 ¾ lengths with a career-best 109 Beyer Speed Figure.
“He's continuing to do well,” said Baffert. “He's back here in California now, so we'll continue to get him ready out here and look to see who will join him when he heads back east.”
Two additional stablemates that may also make the journey back east for the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival with McKinzie, according to Baffert, is recent Grade 3 Lazaro Barrera winner Mucho Gusto and multiple graded stakes winner Marley's Freedom.
A 3-year-old Mucho Macho Man colt owned by Michael Lund Petersen, Mucho Gusto has four wins from six career starts. Following a victory in the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis on February 2, he ran third in the Grade 3 Sunland Park Derby before winning the Lazaro Barrera at seven furlongs by 3 ¼ lengths.
“I thought that was a nice win from him [Mucho Gusto],” said Baffert. “We'll take a look at the [G1, $400,000] Woody Stephens for him as well as the [$150,000] Easy Goer as possible targets next.”
Lastly, Baffert reported 5-year-old multiple graded stakes winning mare Marley's Freedom, who last out finished second in the G1 Distaff at Churchill Downs on May 4, would also be under possible consideration for the G3, $250,000 Bed o' Roses Invitational on Friday, June 7.
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