Returning to the scene of his greatest triumph, Flat Out battled pacesetter Stay Thirsty through the final yards and got a head in front at the wire to score a repeat victory on Super Saturday.
The 6-year-old son of Flatter, winless in six starts since earning his first career Grade 1 in last year’s Gold Cup, stayed well back through the early stages. He picked off rivals moving around the far turn and had moved into second as Stay Thirsty entered the stretch in front. Flat Out and took dead aim on the front-runner, drawing alongside inside the furlong marker and prevailing only after a furious fight to the finish.
“It looked like he (Joel Rosario) let him pick off a couple of horses on the backside, and he was doing it under a hold,” said winning trainer Bill Mott. “That was a good thing. The horse was just striding out and picking up horses.”
Flat Out’s winning time was 2:01.44 for the “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge race, which earned him an automatic, fees-paid berth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita Park. The Preston Stables’ colorbearer, fifth in last year’s Classic, likely will be joined in California by stablemate and fellow Florida-bred Ron the Greek, who finished sixth.
“We have to see,” said Mott of Ron the Greek’s Breeders’ Cup status. “Hopefully it will be the case where he just had an off day. We know that he likes Santa Anita and maybe five weeks from now it will be his day. You can’t ever count him out.”
Flat Out, the 7-2 third choice in the wagering, returned $9.30 for a $2 wager. He now boasts a bankroll of more than $2 million.
Flat Out/NYRA photo by David Alcosser