01/26/2011 4:01PM

Flat Bold cuts back for optional claimer at Aqueduct

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Though none of Flat Bold’s three career victories have come at six furlongs, trainer Tom Albertrani believes that may ultimately prove to his best distance.

“I think he may be better going shorter than going longer,” Albertrani said. “He’s got a lot of speed, but when you stretch him out sometimes it looks like he just barely gets there. We think sprinting him he could be a little better going shorter.”

Albertrani will find out a little more Friday, when Flat Bold faces four stakes winners in a third-level optional claiming race at six furlongs that serves as the feature on Aqueduct’s nine-race card. Flat Bold is the only one not entered for the optional claiming tag of $75,000.

Flat Bold, a son of Flatter, was away from the races for five months when he finished second in a swiftly run third-level allowance race going 6 1/2 furlongs at Parx Racing on Dec. 18. That was Flat Bold’s first race after recovering from an illness, and he pressed hot fractions before giving way grudgingly to Independence War. That result looked better after Independence War came back to run second to Calibrachoa in last weekend’s Toboggan Stakes.

“He came back well,” Albertrani said. “I was really pleased with the race. It looks like a good spot coming up this week; we’ll see how he returns again.”

Flat Bold, who will break from the outside post under Ramon Dominguez, has plenty of speed but may find others up front with him.

Jack On the Rocks has shown good speed in the past and will likely use it from the rail. Digger, who won the Gravesend over this track in gate-to-wire fashion in 2009, also has speed. He returns from a seven-month layoff precipitated by an injury.

Trainer Bruce Brown said he has been pleased with how Digger has been training leading up to his return.

“He’s training good, and I like the outside,” Brown said. “He’s got speed but he doesn’t always break good.”

Trainer Rudy Rodriguez wheels Endless Circle back just six days after he finished fourth in the Toboggan. Three starts back, Endless Circle beat Jack On the Rocks in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight.

Be Bullish, who got beat by Laysh Laysh Laysh in a $60,000 claimer on Jan. 13, also is in with a chance. Laysh Laysh Laysh has come back to win two races since then, including the Northern Dancer Stakes at Laurel last weekend.