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Flat Out gallops out one more time.

Flat Out gallops out one more time.

Julia Tutweiler (Pulpit x Caroline’s Gold, by Touch Gold) before and after her debut race at Saratoga Race Course. Joel Rosario up for Bill Mott.

White Rose

White Rose

Ron the Greek

Ron the Greek

Flat Out was flat-out the best in the Cigar Mile (I)

Flat Out was flat-out the best in the Cigar Mile (I)

Flat Out

Flat Out

Breeders’ Cup Classic Profile #5: Ron the Greek

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Basics:

(Full Mandate x Flambe’, by Fortunate Prospect)

  • Trainer: Bill Mott
  • Jockey: Jose Lezcano
  • Owned by: Brous Stable, Wachtel Stable, Hammer, Jack T. and Barber, Gary
  • Career Record: 29:9-5-3
  • Earnings: $2,704,691

Vital Stats:

  • 2013 Record: 7:2-0-2
  • 2013 accomplishments: G1 winner at 10 furlongs (Jockey Club Gold Cup)
  • Santa Anita record: 3:1-0-0
  • Win and You’re In winner - Jockey Club Gold Cup
  • TrueNicks rating: N/A
  • Dosage Index: 3.00
  • Highest Equibase Speed Figure of 2013: 123 (unchanged from last year)
  • Won last prep [Jockey Club Gold Cup by 6 3/4 lengths]
  • Aims to be the oldest horse to win the Classic at age 6

Summary: Occasionally down but never out, Ron the Greek flourished last year, truly coming into his own as an older horse transferred into the tutelage of Classic-winning trainer Bill Mott. This year however, “Ron Ron” was the victim of many a setback that some attributed to old age or poor overall form. Not to be taken lightly, Ron lit up the board in his last start, taking the 10-furlong Jockey Club Gold Cup— historically one of the most important preps for the Breeders’ Cup Classic— by a commanding 6 3/4 lengths in dazzling time.

Prep Schedule: 4th in last year’s Classic, Ron the Greek stomped the others flat in the sloppy-sealed Sunshine Millions Classic, taking the Florida-bred stake by 11 1/4 lengths. 6 weeks later, he attempted to win back-to-back Santa Anita Handicaps (I) but came up short to Game On Dude, running 4th behind some 9 1/4 lengths after racing wide throughout. He lost again next out to the Dude, both shipping to the Charles Town Classic (II), but this time came within a half length of Dude and a nose from Clubhouse Ride in a photo. He darted off next to defend his Stephen Foster (I) at Churchill but missed again, cutting into the inside too late to catch Fort Larned, placing 3rd by 10 1/4 lengths. Taking another 6 week break, Ron shipped out to Saratoga to run in the Whitney (I), but flattened while running an inside trip to finish 4th behind some 4 lengths away from Cross Traffic. Sentenced to mud in the Woodward (I), he again faltered with a rail trip to finish 4th beaten some 7 lengths. Returning to Belmont, he tracked closer to the pace and made a run on the rail successfully, winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup by 6 3/4 lengths.

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Physique: Well-muscled and of sturdy stature, Ron the Greek has one of the nicest shoulders in the group and is the quintessential classic horse: there’s not feathery fine bone in his body, he’s made to go long and hard. He’s got a nice set of back legs for that pushing closing power, but I’m not sure how refined he currently is for that strategy coming into the Classic.

Pedigree: Sire Full Mandate is by classic superhorse sire A.P. Indy and out of a Deputy Minister daughter who won G1 races such as the Spinster and John L Morris Handicap at Saratoga. Clear Mandate is also the dam of recent Hopeful Stakes-winning juvenile Strong Mandate, so bonus points to her. On the bottom, Ron the Greek’s dam Flamebe’ is fairly ordinary with no other major progeny and traces back twice to Northern Dancer. Big picture: lots of Northern Dancer, Native Dancer, and Bold Ruler.

Running Style: Off-the-pace, may not be a deep closer anymore

Pros: His Jockey Club Gold Cup win announced that he is still that classy G1 winner he was last year under the right trip. While the runner-up in that race gave up ground, Ron the Greek was slightly more disadvantaged having to come between horses and ride the rail to shake clear. We already know he’s good with Santa Anita, having won the 10-furlong Santa Anita Handicap (I) there last year, and being a late mover in a Classic amped with speed.

Cons: Was the JCGC a fluke? The rail was on fire all day that day and supported early speed, which Ron flashed being closer up than usual that day.

Final Word: Always a tough horse to pinpoint form-wise, Ron looked great in easily (and happily) winning the JCGC last out over a classy group. He is rarely does worse than 4th and whether or not you’re a believer in his current G1-winning form, he’s a must-have in the exotics.

"They’re coming into the final furlong now and here is Ron the Greek who is bursting away from the field, pulling away here… in a huge upset, 21-1! And he ran huge today!”

"They’re coming into the final furlong now and here is Ron the Greek who is bursting away from the field, pulling away here… in a huge upset, 21-1! And he ran huge today!”

Breeders’ Cup Classic Profile #1: Flat Out

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Basics:

(Flatter x Cresta Lil, by Cresta Rider)

  • Trainer: Bill Mott (Cigar, Drosselmeyer, Royal Delta)
  • Jockey: Junior Alvarado Joel Rosario
  • Owned by: Preston Stables LLC
  • Career Record: 27: 8-5-5
  • Earnings: $3,195,383

Vital Stats:

  • 2013 Record: 7:2-1-2
  • 2013 accomplishments: G2 winner, G1-placed
  • Santa Anita record: 1:0-0-1
  • TrueNicks rating: “A+” Variant 5.58
  • Dosage Index: 4.00
  • Highest Equibase Speed Figure of 2013: 129 (up 8 from last year)
  • Lost last prep [3rd, Jockey Club Gold Cup (I), by 8 1/2 lengths]
  • 3rd in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (by 7 lengths)
  • Trainer excellent at prepping horses for G1s and championships (Royal Delta, Ron the Greek)
  • Jockey experiencing better than usual year
  • No horse older than 5 has ever won the Classic (Flat Out is 7)

Summary: In his second year under Bill Mott’s tutelage, Flat Out has been the picture of powerful consistency. While not winning every time out, the dapper-looking bay stallion has been showing up to every dance, earning him the title “the Baron of Belmont” after keeping a sharp record at Old Sandy, where until this year he had been undefeated. Alas, he has finished worse than 3rd only twice—both instances occurring earlier this year— and often fell victim to not getting the ideal distance or track conditions.

Prep Schedule: Hot off a 3rd in the Classic last year, Flat Out returned to Gulfstream in February to return a mild 4th in the Donn Handicap (I) won in a romp by Graydar, who also bested him in the New Orleans Handicap (II) next out where he finished 5th. Taking a class drop and a cutback in ground, Flat Out finally won in the Westchester (III) at Belmont as a prep for the Met Mile (I), where he finished a too-late 3rd as the favorite. Getting 9 furlongs again, Flat Out kept his form rolling with an easy win in a lightly-contested Suburban Handicap (II), then ran 2nd in the sloppy Woodward (I) next out at Saratoga, bested by just a head by Alpha. He fell victim to bad luck and a bad break next out in the 10-furlong Jockey Club Gold Cup (I), running a distant 3rd behind stablemate Ron the Greek.

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Physique: It comes as no surprise by looking at Flat Out that his horse is an accomplished runner from 8, 9, *and* 10 furlongs. He has a compact yet muscled bullet-shaped body indicative of sticking around when others start to get winded.

Pedigree: While there’s little that’s flashy on the surface, Flat Out is a descendant of the dominant A.P. Indy tribe through his sire Flatter (a full brother to Congrats) and looks to continue the Northern Dancer-Mr. Prospector legacy of winning in classic races.

Running Style: Mid-pack, often moves up late

Pros: Flat Out ran well in last year’s Classic despite track bias that did not favor him, and he arguably looks like a better horse than that this year.

Cons: How many Classic winners can you name that had strong track biases? Flat Out’s biggest issue is probably that he can only win if given the right conditions— the track can’t be too speed-favoring, and can’t be anywhere but in New York— which are the two things that Santa Anita is all about.

Final Word: Everything about Flat Out screams exotic horse. He’s consistent and looks great rolling into the Breeders’ Cup this year, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario where he comes out on top when he has had just too many issues running well outside of his comfort zone.

What just happened? Royal Delta returns after finishing 2nd in the Beldame Invitational. (Photo by Dawna Wood/The Galloping Hat Rack)

What just happened? Royal Delta returns after finishing 2nd in the Beldame Invitational. (Photo by Dawna Wood/The Galloping Hat Rack)

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