11/30/2013 4:39PM

Aqueduct: Flat Out becomes oldest Cigar Mile winner; future plans up in the air

Barbara D. Livingston
Flat Out storms home to leave pacesetting Private Zone in his wake in the Cigar Mile.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The race that launched the career of the mighty Cigar - and was ultimately renamed for him - may prove to be quite the swan song for Flat Out, who rallied past the pacesetting Private Zone in deep stretch Saturday to win the Grade 1 Cigar Mile by 1 1/2 lengths at Aqueduct.

Private Zone, at 32-1 the longest shot in the field, held second by two lengths over Verrazano, who got third by a neck over Groupie Doll, the brilliant mare who encountered traffic trouble at the quarter pole.

Clearly Now, who stumbled when he clipped heels with Private Zone at the quarter pole, finished fifth and was followed in the order of finish by Forty Tales, Goldencents, the 3-1 favorite, Saratoga Snacks, Laugh Track, and Capo Bastone. Praetereo scratched.

Flat Out, a 7-year-old son of Flatter, won for the ninth time in 29 career starts and the $450,000 he earned pushed his lifetime earnings to $3,645,383.

Earlier in the week, the connections of Flat Out were in the middle of negotiations to stand Flat Out as a stallion next year, according to owner Art Preston.

“We don’t have a plan yet,” Preston said immediately after the race. “Of course, we’re considering retiring him because he’s 7- ears old, but when they do this it makes you have second thoughts. . . . You’d like to run him forever; we have to be realistic about him, he’s 7 years old.”

At 7, Flat Out is the oldest horse to win this race in its 25-year history. The race was originally called the NYRA Mile, but was renamed the Cigar Mile for the horse who won this race in 1994 - the second victory in what would become a 16-race winning streak for the two-time Horse of the Year. Bill Mott trained Cigar. Mott also trains Flat Out.

“It was a pretty nice horse they named it after,” Mott said. “Great performance by this horse; I got to thinking [the mile] might end up being his best distance.”

Flat Out is best known as the two-time winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup run at 1 1/4 miles. But he won the Grade 3 Westchester - beating Cross Traffic - in April and was  a troubled third in the Metropolitan Handicap, both one-turn mile races at Belmont Park, where Flat Out had done his best work.

“This horse, I can’t say enough about him, he’s been a real tough durable horse,” Mott said. “I always kind of felt that maybe he’s as good at a flat mile as he is at 10 furlongs. He’s won the Jockey Club Gold Cup twice at 10 furlongs, but versatile enough to get the job done going a mile. Very nice horse.”

Flat Out benefitted from getting a clean, outside trip under Junior Alvarado, making a big move from seventh around the far turn and sustaining it through the stretch to run down Private Zone, who set fractions of 22.59 seconds for the quarter, 45.39 for the half-mile, and 1:09.79.

Flat Out, who was coming off an eighth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic - a result that Mott called a head scratcher - covered the mile in 1:34.68 and returned $15 as the fifth choice in the field of 10.

“For him, I think it was the dream trip - outside, clear, nothing bothering him,” Alvarado said. “The speed was going very fast in front. When I asked him, he definitely gave me all he had.”

Private Zone, who had won the Grade 1 Vosburgh, gave Martin Pedroza all he had, but had to settle for second. That was the good news for trainer Doug O’Neill. The bad news was the performance of Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldenents, who after getting bumped by a stumbling Saratoga Snacks at the break, chased his stablemate and faded to seventh.

O’Neill said Goldencents had “no real excuses.”

O’Neill said Private Zone “ran huge. It was one of those deals where the 5-2 runs like a 30-1 shot and the 30-1 runs like a 5-2 shot.”

Groupie Doll, under Rajiv Maragh, was following Clearly Now, who at the quarter pole stumbled after clipping heels with Private Zone. That forced Rajiv Maragh to take up on Groupie Doll and guide her to the outside. She made a brief bid in the stretch, but it wasn’t enough. She was beaten 3 1/2 lengths.

“He said she ran really hard and she did,” said trainer Buff Bradley, who was running Groupie Doll for owner Mandy Pope for the first time after she bought her for $3.1 million. “That’s the way it goes. Mandy did a great job bringing her up here. That’s why they load them in the gate. You have a good horse you have to run though; you have to see.”

Paul F More than 1 year ago
hope they turn him out..... he owes nobody......great horse..
Jordan More than 1 year ago
There might not have been a sure-fire Hall of Famer running in the handicap division the last few years, but there were a number of really, really good horses. And these were horses kept in training well beyond the age when most elite runners are retired. Flat Out and Game on Dude were major factors in 2011. MMM was a top 3 year old of 2011 and is a half-length from being the 2nd dual BC Classic winner. The last 2 years we've seen Fort Larned and Ron the Greek turn in some monster efforts. You can even include Richard's Kid, a grade 1 winner in 2009 and a dual grade 1 winner in 2010, who returned from a fruitless Dubai campaign to run 2nd in the 12' Hollywood Gold Cup, and run 3rd and 4th in the Pacific Classics of 12' and 13', a race he had won twice starting 4 years ago. Throw in Wise Dan's efforts in the Fayette, Ben Ali, and Stephen Foster, and we've been treated to a number of top horses putting together multi-year campaigns. Had Ron the Greek not been withdrawn from this year's Classic, the 2013 Classic would have featured the 1-2-3-4 finishers from the 2012 Classic, as well as the 2012 Classic favorite.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
This Is For my MARK who said east coast dominate 2 grade ones @ Hollywood park. last time us informed racing fans remembered EGG Drop. is trained by Mike Mitchell and has only one career race out of California. So what the f@@# are you talking about. MATRIACH grade one was one by Egg Drop. What a clown
B More than 1 year ago
Maybe if we ignore him, he will go away.
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
You at least have to give him credit for being bold with his predictions...he just has a tendency to NOT OWNING UP when he's dead wrong (which is more often than not) or he just makes a ton of excuses.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Don't forget how he will run away and hide a couple of days.....
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
LOL...that too
edb More than 1 year ago
Being a fan of things overrated, I love Mark. He stalks like Verrazano and is just a front runner. And he is always right. Hopefully he just had his computer taken away for a few days.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Hay, if Verrazano had a superiority complex, he'd be a great horse :)
Bill Kaup More than 1 year ago
It was a great day for senior citizens all around. Not only did Flat Out prove that no matter how old you are if you've still got it you will win. In harness racing Foiled Again defeated a stellar field of pacers to put himself right there in that sport's championship race. He's nine years old, but I guess nobody told him he's too old to do what he's done this year. Both horses are truly amazing animals.
John Nicoletti More than 1 year ago
Bravo Flat Out. A real hard knocking horse, who never quits. 8 years old, and going out in style and class. Retiring sound, and healthy. Looking forward to his offspring. Good job,Mr.Mott, keeping this horse, sound and healthy.
Sam Shelby More than 1 year ago
When are they going to quit this nonsense of trying to make Verrazanno a stalker?
Mark More than 1 year ago
Today we get to watch the east coast dominate the 2 grade 1s @ Hollywood. That's for you rahman
Lawrence Macselwiney More than 1 year ago
Not against Tiz flirtatious and don't overlook Rookie Sensation.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Mike Mitchell trains EGG DROP who won the grade one MATRIARCH TODAY. That horse has one career race out of California Dummy and trainer trains in Cali. I guess you will be a coward and have no response to your incorrect information. East coast dominate 2 grade one @ Hollywood park. Mitchell suffered a stroke this year hollywood park. I was glad to see him win. Get the facts straight before you try put me on blast. Wrong again.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
He suffered a seizure see how it is done Mark, Correction
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Admiral kitten beat all the Cali horses in the Hol Derby, but he couldn't beat the Euro. East coast settled for 2nd. Then Discreet Marq and Rafy found a way to blow the Matriarch. 2nd again for the East Coast. Kind of like the Cali horses running 2nd in the 2 big Eastern grade 1 races this weekend, the Clark and Cigar Mile.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Exactly Jordan, where is this guy, no where to be found, makes incorrect statement and has nothing to say. Cali came up second back east. East Coast comes yo second out west.
Elijah Allison More than 1 year ago
Just really makes you think how good are these 3 yr olds, flatout over private zone, hmmmm , i really like private zone, you have to think that if he hadnt clipped he would have won easy!!! Now we know private zone is for real
Mitch Kahn More than 1 year ago
Never dismiss durability and genuine class.
Mitch Kahn More than 1 year ago
Never dismiss durability and genuine class.