The seven year-old Flat Out defeated one of the strongest fields ever assembled in the Cigar Mile. The
win was the ninth of his career and pushed his earnings to well over $3.5
Flat Out now as won two
graded stakes at a flat mile distance to go with his two wins in the Jockey
Club Gold Cup at a mile and a quarter. Owner Art Preston said it best, “It’s
amazing that he has this kind of speed along with the stamina.”
In its history the Cigar
Mile has never been won by a Breeders’ winner and so that trend continued this
year when Groupie Doll finished fourth and Goldencents came in seventh.
Jockey Rajiv Maragh was
not happy with the trip he had on Groupie Doll, "The No. 3 horse [Clearly Now] clipped
heels and stumbled right in front of me and almost unseated the jockey at the
quarter pole. Before that we were in perfect position and running really good.
I had to alter my course and by the time I got her running again it cost us a
Doug O’ Neill was disappointed with performance of Goldencents, the winner of
the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, “We've got
to try to dissect [Goldencents' performance]. [Jockey Rafael Bejarano] said
[Saratoga Snacks] kind of stumbled and almost came over in front of
Goldencents. After that, he thought he had him in a good spot, but just didn't
kick on like we had hoped. No real excuse, just trying to figure it all out.”
As a grade one winner Flat Out ran for a $750,000
purse, which included the extra $250,000 incentive offered by NYRA. Flat Out
had run eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Trainer Bill Mott was happy
to bring him right back in the Cigar Mile. Mott said, “He didn’t run his top race in the Breeders’ Cup,
but he came out of it in good order. We felt he’d probably be well suited for
this race. This came up a very tough race.
What they did with the bonuses putting it on here. You’ve got with the
Breeders’ Cup winners and the Grade one winners in here. It turned out to be
quite a year-end event.”
During the race Flat Out
settled in mid-pack as Private Zone set some speedy fractions [22.59, 45.39,
1:09.79] on a track that produced some rather slow times in the other stakes.
As they turned for home Flat Out was sitting behind Verrazano, who eventually finished
third, waiting for the chance to make his move. When asked Flat Out accelerated to win by 1¼ lengths, paying $15.00 to win. Private Zone held on gamely to finish second.
Bill Mott summed up Flat
Out’s performance by saying, "This horse, I can't say enough about him.
He's just been a real tough, durable horse, a horse that I've always felt may
be as good at a flat mile as he is at 10 furlongs. Although he has won the
Jockey Club Gold Cup twice at 10 furlongs, [he's] versatile enough to get up
and get the job done at a mile."