06/15/2010 11:00PM

Flat Bold gets one last tune-up


ELMONT, N.Y. - After Flat Bold made a successful 4-year-old debut with a good-looking, second-level allowance win here on May 9, some thought was given by his connections of stepping him up to the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap.

But after some more consideration, the West Point Thoroughbreds syndicate, owners of Flat Bold, and trainer Tom Albertrani opted for a more conservative route before stepping into stakes company. Friday at Belmont Park, Flat Bold will meet five rivals going a one-turn mile over the main track.

The third-level optional $75,000 claimer is the featured event on a nine-race card that begins at 3 p.m. Eastern and is the only twilight racing program of the Belmont meet. Billed as "Party in the Park," there will be drink specials from 4 to 9 p.m. and a post-race concert featuring "Big Shot," a popular local band that performs the songs of Billy Joel.

Flat Bold looks to be a big shot in the featured eighth race, especially if he can duplicate his effort from May 9. In that race, his first start since finishing last in the Oct. 3 Indiana Derby, Flat Bold recorded a front-running, half-length victory in a second-level allowance. Flat Bold, making his first start as a gelding that day, jumped to the lead under Rajiv Maragh, carved out fractions of 23.50 seconds, 46.96, 1:11.07 and ran a mile in 1:35.76, while not being asked until inside the 100-yard marker.

"I think I expected him to come out running that day," Albertrani said. "I didn't give Rajiv any specific instructions, and I'll probably do the same thing Friday. He'll be forwardly placed regardless of what's in there."

Greenspirit and Birdrun are two others that have speed. However, Greenspirit is expected to scratch, according to trainer David Jacobson, who said he is leaning toward running I Ain't No Saint. Greenspirit is entered in a five-horse allowance field on Saturday.

The last time Birdrun raced at Belmont, last Oct. 21, he set a track record for 1 1/16 miles, running the distance in 1:39.38 while winning a first-level allowance by 8 1/4 lengths. This past winter, Birdrun ran two solid one-turn mile races at Gulfstream before finishing fifth in the Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay on March 6.

Gridiron, a winner of two straight since blinkers were added; Famous Patriot, who won a race similar to this 13 months ago but hasn't won since, and Half Metal Jacket complete the field.