Westchester Stakes Preview - 04/26/13
G-III Westchester Stakes
1 Mile, Belmont Park
We are taking a detour right now from the Kentucky Derby trail for a stop on Long Island. It is opening weekend at Belmont Park.. The highlight of Saturday's card is the G-III Westchester for three year-olds and up. This race features a lot of familiar names and big speed figures. Flat Out makes his return to Big Sandy looking for his first win since taking the Jockey Club Gold Cup last September. Flat Out will be trimming back the distance here, going just the mile. His previous two trips were at 1 1/8 miles. Mordi's Miracle is one of two Todd Pletcher trainees. The other is Cross Traffic who has won his only two career starts. I expect both of them to be up on the front and control pace in the early going. Belmont is just a one turn mile so there won't be much time to settle in. Flat Out will be making his second start off a layoff so he should improve off a big number last time out. That could and should be dangerous for competition. His workouts have been decent enough since a fifth place finish in the New Orleans Handicap last month.
Winslow Homer is a name that should ring at least a few bells for NYRA fans. He won the Curlin back in 2010 at Saratoga, but since then has not been overly impressive. However, this will be his second start under trainer Chad Brown so I expect some improvement. After a second place finish in the 2011 Travers, Rattlesnake Bridge was severely overmatched in the Breeders' Cup Classic that year. He took the entire next year off. He came back in March and put in a great effort to win an optional claimer down at Gulfstream. He has never won a stakes race which is concerning. Look for Rattlesnake Bridge to cruise along in mid-pack before trying to make a break for home. This race has the potential to set up nicely for him.
Big Screen is in the best form of his career. His lone start over the Belmont dirt was at 1 1/8 and he was not close. He has been running well as of late so it would not be surprising to see him at least hit the board here. Pants on Fire loves this 1 mile distance. He has won three of six at this distance. I do not see a ton of speed up front here so whoever is leading down the backstretch, or who is at least within a few lengths can take it. These are seasoned horses so there really should not be any surprises for them.
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