04/24/2013 4:12PM

Belmont: Flat Out back where he's perfect for Westchester

Barbara D. Livingston
Flat Out, trained by Bill Mott, is 3 for 3 at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – If Flat Out is going to regain his best form, then where else but Belmont Park to try and do it?

Winless in two starts this year, Flat Out returns to Belmont for Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Westchester Stakes, the first graded stakes event of the 56-day Belmont spring/summer meet that begins Friday.

Flat Out, trained by Bill Mott, is 3 for 3 at Belmont Park, winning the last two runnings of the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup as well as the 2011 Grade 2 Suburban. Given his success was at 1 1/4 miles and 1 1/8 miles, it is fair to wonder how Flat Out will do at the one-mile distance of the Westchester.

“He’s run at that distance before and been competitive,” trainer Bill Mott said. “It’s probably a little bit of an experiment. We’ll see how he runs. If he were to run really well, then the Met Mile would be an option for us. If he doesn’t we’ll have to regroup.”

After winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup last fall, Flat Out finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. In two starts this year, Flat Out finished fourth in the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream and fifth in the New Orleans Handicap.

“There were no issues, we have no excuse,” Mott said. “I was expecting a better race both times.”

Flat Out arrived in New York from south Florida on Monday. He jogged Tuesday and galloped Wednesday.

Flat Out has been plagued by chronic foot problems, but Mott said they have not been an issue this year.

“His feet have been in pretty good shape all winter,” Mott said. “With him that’s always day to day, I suppose.”

Junior Alvarado will ride Flat Out from post 3.

Eight horses entered the Westchester, including graded stakes winners Pants On Fire and Winslow Homer, as well as recent allowance winners Big Screen, Rattlesnake Bridge, and Cross Traffic.

Todd Pletcher, who trains Cross Traffic, also entered Mordi’s Miracle. But Mordi’s Miracle drew the rail and Pletcher scratched him out of last Saturday night’s $1.5 million Charles Town Classic because he drew the rail for that race and the horse has a history of breaking poorly from that post.

Norman Asbjornson, who won the Henry E. Johnson Memorial at Laurel on March 16, completes the field.