Flat Out Readies for Whitney

Flat Out Readies for Whitney
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Preston Stables’ Flat Out, winner of the 2011 Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, continued preparations for the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational Handicap on August 4 by breezing five furlongs in 1:02.61 on the Oklahoma training track on Sunday.

 

It was Flat Out’s first workout since the 6-year-old finished second to fellow Whitney contender Rule in the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup on July 7. The Monmouth Cup was Flat Out’s debut for Mott as he had previously been campaigned by Charles “Scooter” Dickey.

 

“I thought it was a perfect race for a comeback,” said Mott of Flat Out’s performance in the Monmouth Cup, his first race since a fifth in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap in February. “He was blocked in and never had a chance to run much. It would have been nice to win, but it was a good effort. His work was good this morning, so we’re happy.”

 

Flat Out will attempt to become the first horse to win the Whitney after having taken the Jockey Club Gold Cup the previous year since Slew o’ Gold won the 1983 Gold Cup and 1984 Whitney.

 

On the worktab at Belmont Park for Mott was Ron the Greek, who went five furlongs in 1:01.21, breezing. He will try to become the first horse to sweep the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap and Whitney in the same year when he competes at the Spa on August 4.

 

The 5-year-old enters the Whitney off a win in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap on June 16 at Churchill Downs. In 2010, Champion Older Male Blame captured the Stephen Foster and Whitney in succession.

 

Mott said Ron the Greek, a Grade 3 winner as a 3-year-old for trainer Tom Amoss, has matured physically with age.

 

“He’s a big, strong horse, so it probably took him a little time to come into his own,” said Mott.

 

Mott added that he and owner Charlotte Weber of Live Oak Plantation haven’t decided where 2011 Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap hero To Honor and Serve will make his next start. The 4-year-old was fourth in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap on July 7 at Belmont.

 

Another older male in Mott’s barn is Lunar Victory, who will compete in Monday’s $100,000 Evan Shipman for New York-breds. The 1 1/8-mile race will be his first since a two-length allowance win on Aqueduct’s inner track in March.

 

The 5-year-old races for Juddmonte Farms, who purchased the son of Speightstown for $350,000 as a yearling and campaigned him in England, where he won one race in eight starts through the spring of 2011. He has won three straight since finishing second in his stateside bow last December.

 

“[Juddmonte will] buy a horse on occasion,” said Mott. “They don’t buy a lot of horses, but they bought him. He’s doing very well. He’s a little short on work, but the race came up and we’ll take our chance.”

 

Mott also reported that 2011 Champion Three-Year-Old Filly Royal Delta emerged from her neck victory in yesterday’s Grade 2 Delaware Handicap in good shape. Royal Delta, who carries the colors of Benjamin Leon’s Besilu Stables, will now target the Grade 1 Personal Ensign on August 26. The last time Royal Delta competed at Saratoga, she won the 2011 Grade 1 Alabama.

 

“She’s proud of herself,” Mott revealed. “She’s walking around like she never ran. She’s doing well. I’m hoping to run her in the Personal Ensign. That would be the plan.”

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