Flat Out, trained by Bill Mott, will try to remain undefeated at Belmont Park when he takes on eight challengers in the $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap (Met Mile) on Memorial Day.
Owned by Preston Stables, Flat Out is perfect in four career starts at Belmont Park coming into Monday's race, including wins in the last two editions of the Jockey Club Gold Cup. The 7-year-old is coming off a win at the track in the Westchester Handicap on April 27.
For the Met Mile, Flat Out will be ridden again by Junior Alvarado and leave from post 6.
He began the year with a disappointing fourth in the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park as the 2-1 favorite. He followed with a fifth at Fair Grounds in the New Orleans Handicap before claiming the Westchester.
Flat Out has earned more than $2.66 million with seven wins in 23 career starts.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has entered Westchester runner-up Cross Traffic and Discreet Dancer in the one-mile stakes. Cross Traffic, owned by GoldMark Farm, will be ridden by John Velazquez from the inside post with stablemate Discreet Dancer right next to him with Javier Castellano in the saddle.
"It's pretty rare that you see a horse who has come that far in such a short time," said Pletcher of Cross Traffic. "He was an unraced 4-year-old at the start of the year. He ran a huge race in the Westchester. He just lost to a tough, seasoned veteran who seems to love Belmont. We were very pleased with his race, and he's doing just as well or even better than he came into (the Westchester)."
In three career starts, Cross Traffic has two wins for $81,300. Discreet Dancer, owned by E. Paul Robsham Stables, has banked $353,150 with four wins in six lifetime starts and is coming off a third at Aqueduct in the Carter Handicap after capturing the Gulfstream Park Handicap.
"The Carter came up a very fast race," said Pletcher. "He won the mile race at Gulfstream, and we think the mile suits him well. He's coming up to it in good order, so we're excited about his chances as well."
Here is the field for the Met Mile in post position order: Cross Traffic, John Velazquez; Discreet Dancer, Javier Castellano; Mark Valeski, Rosie Napravnik; Fort Loudon, Jose Lezcano; Swagger Jack, Irad Ortiz Jr.; Flat Out, Junior Alvarado; Sahara Sky, Joel Rosario; Handsome Mike, Mario Gutierrez and Fed Biz, Mike Smith.
Post-time for the Met Mile will be approximately 5:50 p.m. (ET).