09/29/2012 6:07PM

Belmont Park: Flat Out repeats in Gold Cup, BC Classic is next up

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Tom Keyser
Flat Out (left) nails front-running Stay Thirsty in deep stretch of the Jockey Club Gold Cup as Ramon Dominguez's whip sails over the inner rail.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Flat Out returned to his favorite racetrack Saturday and returned to the winner’s circle in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park. Now he will return to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, a race where he was the beaten favorite a year ago.

Flat Out, winless in six starts since capturing last year’s Jockey Club Gold Cup, needed the length of the Belmont Park stretch to get past the pace-setting Stay Thirsty to win the Gold Cup by a head before a crowd of 8,639.

It was 5 1/2 lengths back to Whitney winner Fort Larned in third.

Flat Out is now 3 for 3 at Belmont, having also captured the Grade 2 Suburban a year ago.

Flat Out became the 10th horse to win the Jockey Gold Cup in back-to-back years. Others to do it include Mad Hatter (1921-22), Dark Secret (1933-34), Nashua (1956-67), Kelso (1960-64), Shuvee (1970-71), Slew o Gold (1983-84), Crème Fraiche (1986-87), Skip Away (1996-97), and Curlin (2007-08). Skip Away and Curlin won the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

After beating Drosselmeyer by 2 1/4 lengths in last year’s Gold Cup, Flat Out finished fifth, beaten three lengths by Drosselmeyer in the Classic at Churchill Downs.

By virtue of his victory in this year’s Gold Cup, Flat Out earns an automatic berth in the Classic with his pre-entry fees paid and a $10,000 travel stipend.

After two poor performances to begin the year, Flat Out was transferred to trainer Bill Mott. In his first two starts for Mott, Flat Out was second in the Monmouth Cup and third in the Whitney, the latter with a wide trip.

Saturday, with Joel Rosario aboard for the first time, Flat Out settled into sixth position while Stay Thirsty, under Ramon Dominguez, ran a quarter in 23.49 seconds and a half-mile in 47.21.

Flat Out advanced into fifth position along the backside and was held in abeyance by Rosario until midway around the far turn. Meanwhile, Fort Larned, who was sitting behind Stay Thirsty, Ruler On Ice, and San Pablo, moved early into contention under Brian Hernandez.

Stay Thirsty, who ran a mile in 1:36.41, repelled Fort Larned turning for home. But Flat Out, under a persevering ride from Rosario, was able to get past Stay Thirsty in the final three strides.

Flat Out, a 6-year-old son of Flatter, covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.44 and returned $9.30 as the third choice.

“It looked like he aws letting him pick off a couple of horses and he was doing it under a hold, he hadn’t asked him to run,” Mott said. “The horse was just striding out and picking up horses.”

Mott said Stay Thirsty, trained by Todd Pletcher, “fought on pretty well. Todd looked like he had him ready today. We just had ours a little more read today and it wasn’t by much.”

Stay Thirsty was trying to win his first race since taking last year’s Travers Stakes. He ran his best race since then, but had to settle for second best.

“We’re not big into consolation prizes, but you got to be proud of his effort,” Pletcher said. “He did all the work the whole way, laid down some really solid fractions for a mile and a quarter race and he was still fighting at the end. He showed us he’s back in his best form.”

The runner-up of the last two Gold Cups - Drosselmeyer last year and Blame in 2010 - came back to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Pletcher said he would leave the decision whether to run in the Classic up to owner Mike Repole, who in a text said he was “too disappointed to think about the Classic.”

Fort Larned, the Whitney winner finished third Saturday, but his trainer, Ian Wilkes, was not discouraged and will bring his horse to the Classic as well.

“My horse likes to stay in a rhythm and I was two months between races,” Wilkes said. “Probably not the best for my horse, but to get to the Breeders’ Cup that’s what I needed to do.”

Mott won the Breeders’ Cup Classic last year with Drosselmeyer and in 1995 with Cigar. He will likely take three to that race this year - Flat Out, Ron the Greek, and To Honor and Serve.

Ron the Greek finished sixth in the Jockey Club, beaten 12 lengths, but he did win the Santa Anita Handicap earlier in the year.

“Hopefully it was a case of he had an off day,” Mott said. “We know he likes Santa Anita. Maybe five weeks from now it’ll be his day. You can’t ever count him out.”

Yougunit More than 1 year ago
Flat Out, peeking at the right time. Notice Joel Rosario, no whip just an easy hand ride.
Yougunit More than 1 year ago
Flat Out, peeking at the right time. Notice Joel Rosario, no whip just an easy hand ride.
Patrick More than 1 year ago
If Wise Dan runs in the Classic. Game Over DUDE
Patrick More than 1 year ago
Wise Dan will dominate if he comes to Santa Anita. His style fits perfect and he can run all day long. He will only improve at the Classic distance and is good for a 120 beyer at Santa Anita.Two Mile Turf "workouts" have kept him fresh. Bring the King to the Dance Mr Fink. I will personally organize his huge fan base in Southern California to cheer on the team. Yes I picked Flat Out and Game on Dude but I know WISE DAN and DUDE you're no WISE DAN.
Jade Sword More than 1 year ago
How many of the horses that were already in the BC actually showed up on Souper Saturday (other than Game On Dude)?
B More than 1 year ago
Not impressed. Two horses that have not won a race in a year or more despite many attempts dominate the supposedly better ones in the field. Baffert must be overjoyed at the outcome of this race with this bunch coming to meet him and Game On Dude in Santa Anita for the BC Classic, though Ron the Greek also likes SA.
Lucy Ohannessian More than 1 year ago
Those supposed slugs were the Travers winner and last year's BCC favorite. Moreover, RTG didn't have to win this...he's in and proven. This will be a horse race. Baffert replaced jocks for a reason, and would have been a LOT happier if RTG or THAS had run their eyeballs out. Few are better than Mott at peaking a horse. Doesn't mean he wins it, but you're a fool if you don't take him seriously.
matt More than 1 year ago
Please, bet Game on Dude in the Classic. I'll be there in the turf club watching him toil at the 1/8 poll
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Whats unimpressive is Dud not beating any solid grade 1 types all year. Not one quality field and lost to Dullahan...a modest 3yr old.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Dullahan is anything but modest on Poly.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
I love how Richard's Kid, a 3-time grade 1 winner who Game on Dude has beaten in 3 straight, is not grade 1 quality.
Lawrence MacSelwiney More than 1 year ago
3rd start for Mott and his best in a year, but I agree. It will be tough for him to get a sniff at Santa Anita with his style.
matt More than 1 year ago
Something tells me the Doug will have Richard's Kid ready come November 3rd. Distance suits him
matt More than 1 year ago
I touted Stay Thirsty all week. What a bad beat! I'll still gladly take the almost 9/2 on the place price. Thanks for the tip Five!!! I pounded it really hard. Hope those tickets on Ron the Greek look good in the trash!
Five More than 1 year ago
matt, no prob, if you're referring to Flat Out. It looked like you bet win on all 3 horses ?, ie FO, Ron & ST ?....eh ?
matt More than 1 year ago
Really!?!? I singled Stay Thirsty on 3 different pick 4's and had 200 and 200 on him. You should pay more attention when you respond to posts. I called this horse out Wednesday right after the draw. Go look at the posts if your memory can't serve you
Kalar Walters More than 1 year ago
WOW! Helluva race!
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
early this year Mott said that RTG needs 2 months between races. This was a pure workout as he wasn't going to extend him 5 weeks out . I feel bad for the public that bet him.I'd also like to see a better rider than Jose ( how can I lose this race) Lezcano
Five More than 1 year ago
Ron is on the slide, a no factor from here on out. Liking SA would not get him off the slide. I am a believer of the "form cycle" angle. Low class horses may have a short cycle, like race to race = inconsistent. Ron held form for a good time, but, to me, he's on the downside now. Then, you have Flat Out and Royal Delta, that I clearly predicted the upswing and coming back to their previous class level.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shuvee won the JCGC two years in a row against males when it was 2 miles! Wow!!
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
And kelso won it 5 times in a row !