04/07/2009 11:00PM

Flat Out looks for another big effort in derby


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Flat Out's come-from-behind win in the $50,000 Smarty Jones at Oaklawn in January was impressive. A month later, his stock went up again when he made up more than 10 lengths to finish a good fourth to Old Fashioned after significant trouble in the Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest Stakes.

"The way he got left in the gate and still ran fourth, it was a big race," said Scooter Dickey, who trains Flat Out for Oxbow Racing.

The performance left many looking forward to Flat Out's appearance in last month's Grade 2, $300,000 Rebel at Oaklawn, but he had to pass on the race because of a bruised right front heel. The situation has left Dickey training Flat Out up to the Grade 2, $1 million Arkansas Derby on Saturday.

"He's coming into it good," said Dickey, who breezed the horse a mile at Oaklawn in 1:43.40 last Saturday. "He finished real strong. He came home the last quarter in 22 and 2. We were very happy with that. That's racehorse time. So, I just hope he's up to the mile and an eighth. I hope I've got him tight enough."

Julio Garcia has the mount on Flat Out, who is by Flatter.

Doocy seeks repeat in Count Fleet

Jockey Tim Doocy, who hit 5,000 career wins last Sunday at Oaklawn, will be shooting for his second straight win in the Grade 3, $150,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap here Friday. He won the race last year with Semaphore Man, and this year will team with sharp newcomer Grand Sensation.

"He's improving, and we're anxious to see what he does with these type of horses," said Doocy.

Steve Hobby not only trains Grand Sensation, he also trains the horse on which Doocy won his 5,000th race, Drinks to Go. Doocy is the 24th rider to win 5,000 races in North America.

"It means a lot, you know, just having the longevity," he said of the milestone. "People have ridden me this long and stuck by me."

Doocy, 53, rode his first winner in 1974 at the now-closed Commodore Downs in Erie, Pa. He has amassed more than $65 million in mount earnings and won titles at such tracks as Oaklawn, Longacres, Remington, and Prairie Meadows. His notable mounts include Restless Con, with whom he won the Haskell, and the late-running millionaire Chindi.

"I've never ridden a horse that the crowd, everybody, loved him," Doocy said of Chindi. "I could get beat, and they wouldn't cuss me. They'd tell Chindi how good he did and that he'll get them next time!"

Doocy, a native of Minnesota who grew up in Iowa, now lives in Edmond, Okla., with his wife, Terry. They have one son, Trey. Doocy will ride next at Prairie Meadows.

Steep fines for two trainers

Trainer Jorge Lara, who was taken into custody last Friday at Oaklawn and charged with public intoxication, has been fined $2,500 by the Oaklawn stewards as a result of the incident. In a ruling issued Wednesday, Lara was cited for "having an alcohol content higher than .05 percent while having direct physical contact with horses on the day's racing program."

Lara, who was released a few hours after being taken into custody, faces a possible civil fine during a court date set for April 28 in Hot Springs.

In other rulings, trainer Rusty Hellman was fined $1,000 and suspended 30 days "for possession of a needle and syringe on the backside containing residue of salicylic acid." Hellman's suspension runs through April 27.