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DRF Breeding Weekend Wrap: Flat Out, Master Rick shine in handicap division
By Patrick Reed
As the racing world’s spotlight shifted to Louisville, Ky., in anticipation of the Kentucky Derby, two members of the handicap division scored triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in standout performances.
Flat Out returned to his “home track” at Belmont and extended his career record to four wins without a defeat in the Grade 3 Westchester Handicap on Saturday. The two-time Jockey Club Gold Cup winner outfinished Cross Traffic by a head in a game effort, covering the one-turn mile in 1:32.99 and earning a 115 preliminary Beyer, equaled by Cross Traffic.
Flat Out, who has won seven of 23 career starts and earned over $2.65 million, was bred in Florida by Nikolaus Bock. The 7-year-old is by Claiborne Farm sire Flatter, a son of A.P. Indy whose profile has risen in recent years along with his fee. Homebred by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, Flatter only made six starts as a racehorse, winning four and placing in the Grade 2 Washington Park Handicap. He retired in 2004 to Claiborne and his fee remained steady at $5,000 until 2011, when it rose slightly to $7,500. Thanks in part to Flat Out’s emergence, Flatter’s fee for 2013 stands at $20,000. Hitting his stride at age 16, he has also sired a recent and growing group of stakes winners in addition to his all-time earner, including 2011 Grade 2 winner Tar Heel Mom and 2012 listed winners Lucy’s Bob Boy, Flat Bold, Brigand, Catch a Thief, Color Me Blue, Flat Back, and Tiban.
Flat Out was an $85,000 yearling purchase by Jack Preston at the 2007 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale and raced initially under his Oxbow Racing banner. Preston, who along with his brothers campaigned 1990s standouts Da Hoss and Victory Gallop, among others, transferred Flat Out from trainer Charles Dickey to Bill Mott in early 2012; the horse has since won his second Jockey Club Gold Cup, finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and now picked up his fourth graded stakes win, all at Big Sandy. Flat Out is out of multiple stakes winner Cresta Lil, by Cresta Rider, and is a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Our Best Man. It is the family of Grade 1 winner and graded stakes producer Got Koko, Grade 3 winner and stakes producer Miss Otis, and Grade 3 winner J. T.’s Pet.
Lone Star Park carded its first graded stakes event of 2013, the Grade 3 Texas Mile, on April 27, and Master Rick unleashed a four-wide rally to take command late in the one-mile race to win by 1 3/4 lengths. The 4-year-old Master Command colt covered the distance in 1:36.01, good for a 105 Beyer. He has now won four of 16 starts and earned $351,363 for owner Richard Davis.
Bred in Florida by English Ranch Farm, Master Rick is out of the winning Maria’s Mon mare Whata Gem and is from the family of stakes winners Happy Bid and Diligent Prospect. He sold to DSB Stable as an OBS August yearling for $30,000 in 2010, and was then bought by Davis from DSB as agent for $47,000 at the OBS spring sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Master Command, another son of A.P. Indy, was a consistent racehorse at the Grade 2 and Grade 3 level who was particularly effective at 1 1/8 miles. He won five graded stakes in three seasons and earned $1,137,188 before retiring to Taylor Made Stallions in Nicholasville, where he stood two full seasons before suffering an accident in 2010. The young stallion reared up in the paddock before a breeding session that April, lost his balance, and sustained a catastrophic injury; he was euthanized at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington.
Through April 29, Master Command’s runners have won 68 races, including four graded stakes, and earned just over $4 million. His best performer to date is Unbridled Command, winner of last year’s Grade 1 Hollywood Derby and third to Point of Entry and Animal Kingdom earlier this year in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.
Weekend notes: The final Kentucky Derby points race, last Saturday’s Grade 3 Derby Trial on opening night at Churchill Downs, will have no bearing on the May 4 classic, as winner Forty Tales will stay in one-turn races for the time being according to trainer Todd Pletcher. The colt by Ashford Stud stallion Tale of the Cat bested his stablemate Capo Bastone by a neck, finishing one mile in 1:35.77 and earning a 92 Beyer (as did Capo Bastone). He picked up his first stakes win in his third attempt, with his best previous start a solid second to Honorable Dillon in the Grade 2 Hutcheson at Gulfstream.
Bred in Kentucky by the Randal Family Trust, Forty Tales is out of the stakes-placed Forty Niner mare Forty Love, who has also produced multiple stakes winner and Grade 3-placed Bear Character and stakes-placed Face the Cat. Other family members include Grade 2 winners Banned and Masseuse.