09/08/2016 9:07PM

Flatlined seizes advantage in Old Friends Stakes

Reed Palmer/Kentucky Downs
Flatlined (right) wins the $149,625 Old Friends Stakes at Kentucky Downs

FRANKLIN, Ky. – Key scratches made Thursday’s $149,625 Old Friends Stakes at Kentucky Downs more friendly to the speedy Flatlined, and the horse took advantage by going to the lead in a race left relatively void of speed and lasting for a neck victory.

Winning jockey Miguel Mena said he was under instructions to not send Flatlined early in the Old Friends, but his mount proved keen to get going. Flatlined broke running, pressing Western Reserve, who most had expected to set the pace.

Down the backstretch the two raced as a team, but as the field hit the long, sweeping turn at Kentucky Downs, Flatlined was able to get some separation from Western Reserve, and it seemed in that moment the race was won. He caught a breather and was ultimately able to turn back a midstretch challenge from Western Reserve, the eventual third-place finisher, and late bid from runner-up Perfectly Majestic.

“I didn’t think I would be on the lead but I got there easy, and doing it easy, handling the track nice,” Mena said.” He’s a tough horse. He doesn’t let horses go by.”

Kent Desormeaux, aboard Perfectly Majestic, echoed that point, noting his horse fired but simply couldn’t catch the winner.

“He gave a gallant effort,” he said. “I was proud of him.”

The winner, a 4-year-old Flatter gelding owned by Ryan Kuhn, Rodney Paden, and Brian Hytrek, completed a mile and 70 yards on firm ground in 1:42.98, paying $26.60.

Winning trainer Scooter Dickey said he isn’t sure what would be next for Flatlined, though his options are plentiful, with the horse being a winner on both dirt and turf.

The horse even has a future one day when his racing career is over, with race sponsor Old Friends donating a guaranteed spot at their farm upon his retirement if his owners wish to accept.

Thursday’s feature marked the second renewal of The Old Friends, named in honor of the retirement organization founded 13 years ago by Michael Blowen that showcases retired racehorses in several locations across the country, including at Kentucky Downs.

Racing continues at Kentucky Downs on Saturday, with that card sweetened by a pick five carryover of more than $52,000 and highlighted by the running of the Grade 3, $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup.