Flat Out delivered as the even-money favorite in Saturday’s Grade 2, $350,000 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park.
The Florida-bred took command with a quarter-mile to go and pulled clear to a commanding 2 ½-length victory over Last Gunfighter. His winning time for 1 1/8 miles was 1:46.87.
“He was pretty much the best horse in the race,” said Alvarado, who teamed with Flat Out to win the Grade 3 Westchester on April 27. “I wanted to break and put him in a good spot, clear on the outside. The pace wasn’t too fast. The last two races they had been going :44, so he was a little sharp going :47. He was great. Turning for home, I asked him, and he gave it all to me.”
The victory was Flat Out’s fifth in six starts at Belmont. His streak began in the 2011 Suburban, continued with the 2011 and 2012 editions of the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup and the 2013 Westchester before coming to an end with a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on Memorial Day.
“This obviously was an easier race than the last two,” said Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who trains Flat Out for Preston Stables. “He ran hard today, but he ran real hard to win [the Westchester] and then he got jostled around a little bit in the Met Mile, which may have cost him something. It’s nice to see him bounce back. I figured when he went by that horse on the lead, he was going to be tough to beat from there.”
Flat Out, who returned $4 for a $2 win bet, closed in on the $3 million mark in earnings, with the winner’s purse of $210,000 putting him at $2,945,383. Overall, he is 8-4-4 from 25 career starts.
Mott said the next start for the son of Flatter could be on Aug. 3 at Saratoga Race Course in the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap, a race in which Flat Out finished third last year behind Fort Larned and Ron the Greek.
“If he would be doing extremely well, I would say we might take a shot at the Whitney,” said Mott. “I suppose that makes some sense, and then try to get him back here for the [Jockey Club] Gold Cup this fall.”
Last Gunfighter, who had his six-race winning streak snapped, nosed out the fast-closing Fast Falcon for place. Alpha, the dead-heat winner of last year’s Grade 1 Travers, broke open the starting gate before the break and finished fourth. Percussion checked in fifth.