07/04/2013 11:12AM

Belmont Park: Flat Out aims to bounce back in Suburban Handicap

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Chelsea Durand/NYRA
Flat Out will make his third stakes start of the Belmont Park meet in the Suburban Handicap.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Even though he suffered his first defeat at Belmont Park in his last start, it would be incorrect to label Flat Out’s third-place finish in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap a bad race.

Attempting to move into contention leaving the five-sixteenths pole, Flat Out had to check behind a tiring Handsome Mike, losing his momentum. While it may not have cost him the win – Sahara Sky and Cross Traffic ran terrific finishing noses apart – Flat Out may have made it more interesting. Instead, Flat Out was beaten 3 1/2 lengths.

Saturday, Flat Out will look to rebound when he heads a field of five entered in the Grade 2, $350,000 Suburban Handicap – being run for the 127th time – at 1 1/8 miles at Belmont Park. Flat Out, a 7-year-old son of Flatter owned by Preston Stables and trained by Bill Mott, has won four graded stakes at Belmont, including the 2011 Suburban, then trained by Scooter Dickey.

His affinity for Belmont is why Flat Out is making his third graded stakes appearance of the meet in this spot and also why he is the even-money morning-line favorite. Flat Out, who has won the last two runnings of the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, won the Grade 3 Westchester here April 27, running down a stubborn pacesetter, Cross Traffic, who set very fast fractions that day.

Saturday, there does not appear to be much early speed, a possible hindrance to Flat Out, the 119-pound highweight who breaks from post 4 under Junior Alvarado.

“I’m happy with the two mile races in him,” Mott said. “Hopefully, he’ll be able to lay a little bit closer Saturday and he’ll still have a little bit of a kick.”

Last Gunfighter looms the major threat to Flat Out. A 4-year-old son of First Samurai owned by John Gunther, Last Gunfighter has won six consecutive races, a streak that began Oct. 12 in a one-turn, one-mile maiden race at Belmont. He has won three consecutive stakes going two turns, including the Grade 3 Pimlico Special on May 17.

“It was a good race, a good spot, the horse ran super,” trainer Chad Brown said. “He’s had some time to recover, seems to be training well. It’s a tall task facing a horse like Flat Out. It might not be a large field, but it’s a solid field. This is his biggest test to date.”

Percussion also is a threat as the potential primary speed under John Velazquez. Percussion has three wins and a second in the Grade 2 Brooklyn from five starts since being purchased privately by Gary Barber and transferred to trainer Todd Pletcher. Two starts back, Percussion won the Albert the Great Stakes – like the Suburban a one-turn, 1 1/8-mile race – by a nose over Fast Falcon, who was a late addition to this field.

“Looks like he could be the speed of the race,” said Pletcher, who has never won the Suburban. “We’ll put him on the lead and see how far he can go. He ran great in the Brooklyn. Who knows? Cutting back from a mile and a half to a mile and an eighth could be a good thing.”

Alpha, who dead-heated for the win in last year’s Travers Stakes at Saratoga, makes his first start in New York since that race. He wintered in Dubai, where his best race was a credible fifth in the Grade 2 Godolphin Mile over Meydan’s synthetic surface.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said he has been very pleased with how Alpha looks and has trained since his return to the United States, but admits to this being a tall task running against the likes of Flat Out.

Fast Falcon, who finished a neck behind Alpha and Golden Ticket in the Travers, attempts to end an 11-race losing streak in the Suburban. He comes out of a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Brooklyn. Cornelio Velasquez rides from post 5.

The Suburban, which shares billing with the Grade 2, $200,000 Dwyer Stakes for 3-year-olds, will go as race 8 on the 11-race card and begin the late pick-four wager that has a guaranteed pool of $300,000.

B More than 1 year ago
I can't explain the endless "important" races with such small fields this year, but it is very defeating and has lead to a most lackluster year thus far. Look at today. 5 horse fields in the Hollywood God Cup, the Suburban & the Royal Heroine and a 6 horse field in the Dwyer. With the exception of Game On Dude, there are no "monsters" in any of these fields to scare others away. Perhaps there are just too many races these days? They have so many options, the big boys/gals can be kept apart until the BC races. Or, maybe we just don't have all that many consistent high quality horses this year.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
B i said it before and will say it again.the heart and soul of the racing game are the everyday owners and trainers. if these owners with their so called hot shots want to pick and chose. lower the boom and take away from their purses. the money you take away,re invest in everyday races. you will see big fields every day,every race. remember how good monmouth was 3 years ago. to the hell with these guys.you are right.who are they ducking. the shadows
Grazyna Mianska More than 1 year ago
Whoo Hoo Another short field. What is wrong with this picture?
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
david c, if you feel a heavy chalk like his will go down.why play the race. toss him from your tickets in the p3 & p4 . the p4 is a .50 cent wager. do an all here, go deep in the others. if you feel so strogly he will lose.you will get paid.especially if you bomb out with a spread. players love an opportunity as the way you feel. a 1/2 horse losing. i do not think he will, so i would not do that here. if i felt like you do. go all in ,toss him from your ticket. plus nyra has a 350k guarantee
DavidM More than 1 year ago
I totally agree with you in that Flat Out really should beat this field and is not at all vulnerable. David C's comments were just "flat out" dumb. To say that a huge favorite is vulnerable and expect him to lose and then say it is not a good betting opportunity is ridiculous!
Perl More than 1 year ago
He won't be 1-2. He will be even or 6-5. The horse adores Belmont but he's worth a shot against here.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Agree. I'll take a fresh alpha for the white hot kieren barn .
Mark More than 1 year ago
Saw him work. Looks great
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
forget about winning or losing peri. if one can get even money or 6/5 in this field .then you empty your pockets out betting flat out to win. his value then would be off the charts. no disrespect to the other horses or connections. like david m said. flat out lays over the field. if you get the price you say he will. you empty your pockets. if you lose,that is part of the gae.i hate to say 6/5 is value anywhre. but against this field and all he has to do is beat 4 horss. who is the serious competition . is it the last gunfighter,the same horse tha destroyed such super stars as mordicai miracle and ist he perfect. anything i possible in racing,especially on such a steamy hot day as it is in N.Y today. you never know how they will react. but at face value. 6/5 in this field is stealing.
Lawrence Macselwiney More than 1 year ago
He crushed them!
DavidC More than 1 year ago
The Suburban is just a public prep race and the field is to small for a single ticket wager! with the morning line odds on Flat Out of 1-1 that's a joke really. He's vulnerable and can get beat which I suspect will happen. It's a wide open event. Don't get me wrong I like the horse but he's done come up short several times in the past and he's bound to repeat that again. Can't endorse his chances here. He's got to prove me wrong!. Too, the pace is going to be very swift for 9 furlongs and not a slow pace event. I think the time will be about 1:48 and change to about 1:47 and change. And if, he stalks the pace then Ok!. Prove me Wrong Flat Out !!
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Go to the window and play Flat Out to toy with this field......
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Ha ha ha ...ha ha.
Perl More than 1 year ago
I hate to complain but all these Saturday stakes races are under subscribed. Belmont's two Saturday feature races have 5 and 6 horse fields and the Gold Cup has a five horse field. I guess everyone is waiting for Saratoga and Del Mar.
irvin jay More than 1 year ago
How about they just don't exist anymore.
zkid9914 More than 1 year ago
I don't know why horsemen don't enter these races. Big purses , small fields, anything can happen. Maybe its the entrance fee. No interest watching.
Lawrence Macselwiney More than 1 year ago
They are waiting for Saratoga and Del Mar. The same old cast of characters for the Gold Cup. Olli, Dude, Kettle, and Clubhouse. The new shooter Sky Kingdom. I could see Sky Kingdom springing an upset.