While Grade 1 Personal Ensign Invitational winner
Royal Delta relaxed Monday morning, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott sent out his 7-year-old gelding
Flat Out for a final blowout before contesting the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward at 1 1/8 miles on Saturday.
With regular exercise rider Neil Poznansky aboard, Flat Out zipped four furlongs in 48.30 seconds over the
Oklahoma training track, the best of 44 works at the distance. The work came one day after Mott’s other Woodward entrant,
Ron the Greek, went four furlongs in 49.30 at Oklahoma, second-best of 27 at the distance.
“Ron was bucking and squealing yesterday, and Neil thought Flat Out gave him a good feel this morning,” Mott said.
Ron the Greek, a 6-year-old son of Full Mandate,
finished fourth, beaten just 4 ¼ lengths, in the Grade 1 Whitney
Invitational Handicap on August 3. Flat Out,
however, has been on the sidelines since cruising to a 2 ½-length score
in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap on July 6 at
“We had the option [to run Flat Out in the Whitney],”
Mott said. “He had won the Suburban, and we thought if he was doing
really, really well going into the
Whitney, we’d run. We worked him and thought he maybe wasn’t on his
game 100 percent. He has always had issues with his feet, and we thought
we needed a little more time for one of his feet.
“With that being said, we pointed to the Woodward. We
didn’t want to skip them both. This work today was as good as Neil has
felt him. He gets on him every day,
and he seemed to think he was more on his game than he has been some of
his previous works.”
Ron the Greek and Flat Out will face a strong field
in the Woodward, likely including the top three finishers from the
Whitney, Cross Traffic, Successful Dan
and Mucho Macho Man.
Royal Delta, meanwhile, is targeting the Grade 1, $400,000 Beldame Invitational on September 28 at
Park as her final race before the Breeders’
Cup. Like last year she likely will be cross-entered in both the Distaff
and the Classic, Mott said.
“She looked fine; she was good this morning,” Mott
said. “Looked like she’s got another one in her. If she runs in the
Beldame, we go to the Breeders’ Cup. She
could be nominated [to both the Classic and Distaff] the same way she
was last year, but I don’t think anything is written in stone yet. I
think that would be a conversation for something closer to the race. I
don’t think it’s something we’re going to plan
on now. It’s an option.”
Except for failed efforts to win the Dubai World Cup
on Meydan Racecourse’s synthetic surface the past two years, Royal
Delta’s record has few blemishes. She
made amends Sunday for her half-length loss last year in the Personal
Ensign, and her upset second-place finish in the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis
Handicap at Churchill Downs after the World Cup turned out to be a
springboard to a 10 ¾-length win July 20 in the Grade
1 Delaware Handicap.
When Royal Delta finished her work in the Personal Ensign yesterday, the 18,706 in attendance at
greeted her with a standing ovation as she made her way back after
galloping out. With Mott and owner Benjamin Leon next to her, Hall of
Fame rider Mike Smith walked Royal Delta in a circle
three times as the crowd roared.
“I heard them when she crossed the wire, and, obviously, I was standing out in front with Mr.
Mott said. “And he was beside me, and as she was approaching, everybody
was applauding, and I said, ‘Listen to this behind you.’ It made him
feel good too. I didn’t have
to tell him, but I said, ‘It’s nice. People still appreciate seeing a
good horse.’ To see the consistency; they’re just very gallant animals,
particularly one like her.”