Metropolitan Handicap Betting Guide

The Metropolitan Handicap is one of the biggest races of the season at Belmont Park, as the Grade 1 sees horses compete over the illustrious track for a huge prize fund. The 2021 renewal of the race is set to take place on June 5th, which is the same day as the Belmont Stakes.

Metropolitan Handicap Event Details

This Grade 1 is open to horses that are aged three and older, and there is a prize purse of $1 million. The race covers one mile of the Belmont Park track and is contested on the dirt surface. It is considered one of the most prestigious races of the season outside of the Breeders' Cup and the Triple Crown races.

Metropolitan Handicap Preview

The runners for the 2021 renewal of the Metropolitan Handicap aren't expected to be announced until the week of the Grade 1. However, we can compare the recent winners of the race to assess the key trends that could impact the winner of the race. The previous five winners of the Metropolitan Handicap can be found below:

  • Vekoma (2020)

  • Mitole (2019)

  • Bee Jersey (2018)

  • Mor Spirit (2017)

  • Frosted (2016)

The Metropolitan Handicap is one of the biggest races of the season for horses that are aged three and older. However, it has very much been the stage for four-year-olds to shine in recent history. All five of the most recent winners found above have been four years old, while the four winners between 2012 and 2015 were also of the same age.

The horse's age could be the biggest indicator to find a winner in this Grade 1, as the four-year-olds have dominated. The only six-year-old to win the race since 2010 came in 2011 as Tizway won for trainer H. James Bond. Bribon's win in 2009 is the only occasion that a six-year-old has won the race since 2000. There have been four five-year-old winners since the start of the millennium, with all winners coming between 2002 and 2005. The most recent five-year-old winner of this race was Ghostzapper in 2005 for trainer Robert J. Frankel.

Another interesting trend is the fact that both of the previous two winners of the race had competed in the Kentucky Derby before entering the Metropolitan Handicap. However, both Vekoma and Mitole had contrasting results at Churchill Downs. Vekoma came into the Metropolitan Derby having finished in 12th, which was 15 lengths behind Country House. Meanwhile, Mitole had won the Kentucky Derby by three and a half lengths on route to his Metropolitan Handicap success.

However, one trend that is common throughout the past five winners is the Graded form. All of the previous five winners of the Metropolitan Handicap have won at least one Graded race before winning the huge race. Vekoma had won the Blue Grass Stakes, Mitole had won the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap, as well as the Kentucky Derby, while Bee Jersey claimed success in the Steve Sexton Mile Stakes.

Metropolitan Handicap Information

The Metropolitan Handicap is one of the most prestigious races on the American calendar. Only the Breeders' Cup and all three Triple Crown races are seen as more prestigious. The Grade 1 is regarded as the 'stallion-making race,' as there have been numerous examples in the past of winners going on to become successful stallions. Among the most successful include Native Dancer, Ghostzapper, and Fappiano.

This Grade 1 takes place at Belmont Park on the same day as the Belmont Stakes. It was first run back in 1891 and originally was staged at Morris Park Racecourse. It was moved to Belmont Park in 1904 but has been staged at Aqueduct on nine occasions since 1960.

Frosted set the time record for the race in 2016, as he won in a time of 1:32.73. That victory also saw the winner win by a record 14 and a quarter lengths. John Velazquez is the most successful jockey in the history of the Metropolitan Handicap, as he has won on five occasions. Meanwhile, trainer John M. Gaver Sr holds the record for most wins, as he trained the winner on six occasions. Devil Driver is the only three-time winner of the race, while Stymie, Forego, and Gulch have all recorded back-to-back victories.

Metropolitan Handicap Betting Information

The day of the Metropolitan Handicap is an extremely exciting 24 hours of racing. The race is followed by the Belmont Stakes, and there is an excellent selection of markets that gamblers can bet on for the first Grade 1 of the day.


  • Win: Gamblers can place a bet on the horse that they think will win the Metropolitan Handicap.

  • Place: All leading sportsbooks will also offer gamblers the opportunity to bet on a runner in the Metropolitan Handicap to finish in a place position.

  • Exacta: The most potentially lucrative betting markets for the Metropolitan Handicap will see customers able to bet on the first two horses past the post in the Grade 1.