Grade 3 Westchester victor
Flat Out and runner-up Cross Traffic,
who were separated by a head at the finish of Saturday’s one-mile race,
both earned career-best Beyer Speed Figures of 115 for their
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire - Sue Kawczynski
The 115 Beyer is the best in
North America this year at races of a mile or less.
The 7-year-old Flat Out, who improved his
Park record to 4-for-4 with the win, was
caught in 1:32.99 at the wire after closing stoutly into fractions of
22.77, 45.33 and 1:08.87 set by Cross Traffic. The two-time Grade 1
Jockey Club Gold Cup winner’s best previous Beyer
was a 113 in the 2011 Suburban Handicap at Belmont.
Cross Traffic’s previous best Beyer was a 105, earned in his second start, a 7 1/2-length optional claiming win on March 10 at
“He did everything right except win, and he still galloped out
well, so that was good,” said Michael McCarthy, assistant to trainer
Todd Pletcher, of the 4-year-old
Cross Traffic. “He hung around on his left lead for a while [in the
stretch], and when he switched to his right lead he jumped for about
8-10 strides, and I thought that was going to be enough to hold on
against the Jockey Club Gold Cup winner, who obviously
likes Belmont Park.”
Cross Traffic will likely be pointed next to the Grade 1, $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap on Memorial Day, May 27, at
“Hopefully the Met Mile is in the cards for our horse,” said
McCarthy. “We’ll see how he comes out of it, but he looked well here
On Sunday morning, McCarthy sent out Alto Racing’s
Peace Preserver for a
half-mile work in 48.77 in preparation for a likely start in Saturday’s
Grade 3, $150,000 Beaugay at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.
“She breezed well, and finished up full of run,” said McCarthy of Peace Preserver, who has won two of her three starts on the
Belmont turf, including the 2012 Pebbles.