Bill Mott is loaded for this weekend's Breeders' Cup Preview at Belmont Park, sending out grade I winners Royal Delta in the Beldame (gr. I), Ron the Greek in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), and To Honor and Serve in the Kelso Handicap (gr. II). But his real dark horse may be Flat Out, who will attempt to land his second consecutive Jockey Club Gold Cup victory.
Mott put in the final touches when he named Joel Rosario to ride Flat Out, a son of Flatter who had been ridden in his last starts by Rosie Napravnik. Mott took over Flat Out's training from Scooter Dickey early this year and the Preston Stables-owned 6-year-old is now approaching peak form following a second in the Monmouth Cup (gr. II) and a fast-closing third in the Whitney (gr. I).
Last year, Flat Out captured the Gold Cup on a muddy track and romped in the Suburban Handicap (gr. II), as well as finishing second in the Whitney and Woodward (gr. I). He could do no better than fifth in the Breeders' Cup Classic, but was beaten only three lengths.
Mott feels Flat Out is rounding back into his form from last year and is expecting a big performance in the Gold Cup.
"He's doing very well," Mott said. "I'm happy with his works, and it seems like he feels good and is ready to run. I gave him a fair amount of time to get over the Whitney. He's run well over this track (two-for-two), and that has to be a bonus."
As for Rosario, Mott said the Gold Cup is a one-race contract.
"We'll see how he rides the horse and he'll see how the horse runs," Mott said. "We haven't looked beyond that. He's a very capable rider and I hope they make a good team."