Forest Danger Breezes for Met Mile Showdown

(from Belmont Park notes)
The Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I)-bound Forest Danger breezed five furlongs over Belmont Park's main track Wednesday morning in 1:00 3/5.

Forest Danger, one of the nation's leading sprinters, is undefeated in two starts this season after winning a high-priced optional claimer at Gulfstream and Aqueduct's Carter Handicap (gr. I).

Belmont Park's $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) – "the Met Mile" – will be run on Memorial Day, May 30. Always a fan favorite, the Met Mile is expected to feature an early season match up between Forest Danger and the 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper.

Ghostzapper, a multiple stakes winner at Belmont, has not raced since taking the 2004 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Lone Star Park in late October. At Churchill Downs Tuesday, Ghostzapper zipped six furlongs under jockey Joe Deegan in 1:10 4/5 over a "fast" track. The move was easily the fastest of three at the distance

"I've got the utmost respect for Ghostzapper, but Forest Danger is an awfully good horse and both his races this year have been super," said Forest Danger's trainer Todd Pletcher. "It'll be a good test for our horse and we'll see what happens."

The Pletcher-trained Ashado, the 2004 3-year-old filly champion, was to run in last Friday's Louisville Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Churchill Downs. Pletcher, however, was unhappy with her weight assignment and opted to skip it.

Ashado was nominated to Belmont's $200,000 Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) at one mile on Preakness Day May 21 and Pletcher is seriously considering running her in the race – as long as he is happy with her weight assignment.

"I'm waiting to see the weights," he said.

Tuesday, Ashado worked five furlongs over Belmont's main track in :59, handily.

Ashado won the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) at Belmont in July and capped off a memorable 3-year-old season with a win in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Lone Star Park.

In her only start as a four-year-old, Ashado finished fifth as the 1-2 favorite in the April 9 Apple Blossom (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park.

"She just got tired," Pletcher said.