Photo: Eclipse Spotswire - Sue Kawczynski
Two years ago, Flat Out
was the longest shot on the board at 13-1 when he rolled to a 6
½-length victory in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap at
Park, his first graded stakes score.
In Saturday’s $350,000
Suburban, Flat Out is the even-money favorite on the morning line to
join a handful of horses with two Suburban wins on their resume, most
recently Devil His Due, who won back-to-back editions
Since his win in the
2011 Suburban, Flat Out, now 7, has compiled a record of 3-3-4 from 15
straight graded stakes appearances, with all three wins coming at
The son of Flatter went on to win the 2011 and 2012 editions of the
Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup and this year took the Grade 3 Westchester
before his streak ended with a third-place finish
in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap.
“We didn’t get it done
in the Met Mile, which we wanted to, and maybe we’d give him another
opportunity here,” said Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who trains Flat Out for
Preston Stables. “I would think the Suburban
might not be as tough as the Met Mile was. If we were to wait for the
Whitney [Grade 1, August 3,
Saratoga] we’d have to wait another month and I’m not sure the horse needs another month.”
Junior Alvarado will be aboard Flat Out when he leaves from post position 4 for the 1 1/8-mile race.
Looking to extend a
six-race winning streak is John Gunther’s Last Gunfighter, unbeaten
since breaking his maiden facing older horses last October in his first
start for trainer Chad Brown. The First Samurai
colt subsequently won an optional claimer and the Raymond Earl
overnight stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack to close out his 3-year-old
campaign, and this year has strung together victories in the Evening
Attire, the Grade 3 Excelsior – both at the Big A – and the
Grade 3 Pimlico Special.
“The horse has done
nothing wrong since we got him,” said trainer Chad Brown of Last
Gunfighter, who was 0-2-2 in his first four starts. “There are a lot of
nice horses in the race, and we hope that he keeps
inching forward. If he does, he should be competitive.”
As the 2-1 second choice on the morning line, Last Gunfighter will be ridden by Javier Castellano from post position 3.
Alpha, the other Grade 1
winner in the Suburban field, is 5-1 on the morning line as he makes
his first North American start of 2013. Last of 12 in the Group 2 Al
Maktoum Challenge – Round 2 in February and fifth
in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile in March, last year’s co-winner of the
Grade 1 Travers has been training forwardly at Saratoga Race Course and
“His last race was
better [than the first] this year,” said Kiaran McLaughlin of the
4-year-old Godolphin color-bearer, who will run with blinkers off. “He’s
still maturing, and he looks great.”
Alpha will leave from the rail with Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the irons.
Fast Falcon, who was a
neck behind Alpha and Golden Ticket in the 2012 Travers, enters the
Suburban in search of his first stakes win. Third in the Grade 2
Brooklyn last time out, the Awesome Again colt missed
by a nose when second to Percussion in the Albert the Great overnight
stakes at Belmont on May 12, and prior to that was second in an optional
claimer in February at Gulfstream Park.
“He’s a trier,” said
Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito of Fast Falcon, who carries the colors of
Richard C. Pell. “He’s been running well. He always tries, so we’ll see
Cornelio Velasquez will ride Fast Falcon, 10-1 on the morning line, from post position 5.
Completing the field is
Percussion, who after winning the Albert the Great led to the final 70
yards of the Grade 2, 1 ½-mile Brooklyn Handicap on June 7 and finished
second by a length. The 5-year-old son of
Bluegrass Cat is 3-1-0 from five starts for Todd Pletcher, who took
over his training earlier this year, with his only off-the-board outing a
fourth-place finish after setting the pace in the Grade 2 Charles Town
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will ride Percussion, 6-1 on the morning line, from post position 2.