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Future Spendthrift stallion National Treasure dominates prestigious Met Mile-G1

June 10, 2024

National Treasure’s 6 1/4-length margin of victory marked the second largest in the prestigious one-mile event since 1982 | NYRA photo

Future Spendthrift stallion National Treasure added another prized jewel to his growing trove on Saturday, June 8th when he conquered one of America’s most prestigious dirt races in the form of a 6 1/4-length victory in the $1 million Metropolitan Handicap (G1) over a mile at Saratoga.

The winning margin tied for the second largest in the storied race since 1982, illustrating the sheer dominance put on display by the 4-year-old son of Quality Road.

Making his first start in America since his Pegasus World Cup (G1) triumph at Gulfstream in January, National Treasure put his rivals to the sword from the start, aggressively taking the early advantage from Hoist the Gold through a dueling opening half mile in 45.75 seconds. Under jockey Flavien Prat, the favored National Treasure shook off the reigning Cigar Mile winner Hoist the Gold at the top of the stretch – similarly as he did in the Pegasus – and instantly opened up a three-length advantage as the field entered the home stretch.

White Abarrio, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic hero and the second choice in the race, swung to the outside in an attempt to make a run at National Treasure, however, it was quickly evident that this year’s Met Mile had turned into a one-horse race. National Treasure had left the field toiling in his wake, increasing his advantage with every stride before gliding across the wire under wraps in 1:35.12 over a fast local main track.

“Once I got down the backside it felt like I was going to be able to get away from (Hoist the Gold),” Prat said. “Then after that, when I tightened my rein, he just went on. He has always shown talent. One thing about him is he always shows up and runs his race. It was a great run today.”

Proud co-owner Tom Ryan of SF Racing said: “This is the most satisfying result. We have never won the Met Mile before, and for him to come out and do this, he’s a brilliant horse. He’s a superstar.”

Trained by Bob Baffert, National Treasure notched his third Grade 1 win at as many distances and racetracks, and he validated his status as the top dirt horse in North America. Aside from his Pegasus and Met Mile wins in 2024, the tenaciously fast colt was a classic winner as a 3-year-old, having taken last year’s Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico. He also finished 2023 on an upswing, narrowly losing a head bob to Horse of the Year Cody’s Wish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) against older horses at Santa Anita. He earned a career-high 107 Beyer in the Breeders’ Cup, signaling a strong 4-year-old campaign this year where he has run triple-digit Beyers in both of his North American starts.

“He’s a good horse and in his last couple of works, he tipped me off that ‘Hey, I’m back.’ I’m proud of the horse,” Baffert said.

National Treasure increased his earnings to $5,372,000 for “The Avengers”, the prominent ownership group that consists of SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital and Catherine Donovan.

“I’d say the Whitney could be possible as long as he comes back well,” said Baffert about National Treasure’s next possible Grade 1 target on Aug. 3rd at Saratoga.

National Treasure is set to retire at the end of the racing season and will stand his first season at stud at Spendthrift in 2025.