Flat Out, who dominated the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) earlier this month, was the first major Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) contender to arrive at Churchill Downs when he settled into Barn 47 Oct. 11 following a flight from New York.
“He shipped well and he’s doing good,” said trainer Scooter Dickey, who trains the 5-year-old horse for Art Preston’s Preston Stables.
Flat Out, a Florida-bred bay son of Flatter, put together a string of four impressive performances this summer in New York that concluded with a 2 1/4-length victory in the mud over Drosselmeyer in JCGC on Oct. 1. Flat Out’s summer campaign also included a win in the grade II Suburban Handicap and runner-up efforts in the Whitney Handicap and Woodward (both gr. I).
“It’s been a great summer and he really ran well,” said Dickey, who enjoyed his first grade I success after six decades as a trainer. “He’s the kind you want and the kind you hope to get.”
Prior to his four starts in New York, Flat Out finished sixth behind Pool Play in Churchill Downs’ Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I). The Stephen Foster is the only time Flat Out has finished off-the-board in his 2011 campaign, however Dickey does not believe it was because he didn’t handle the surface at the Louisville track.
“He’s always worked well here and he didn’t run a bad race in the Stephen Foster,” Dickey said. “The horses that finished well were all coming down the middle of the track and he was on the rail. I just don’t think the rail was the place to be that day and if he were further outside he would have kept coming.”
Flat Out will return to the Churchill Downs track for the first time since June on Oct. 13 and is expected to have a workout this weekend.
“He’ll go to the track tomorrow and gallop a mile and a half,” Dickey said. “I’ll work him sometime this weekend, but I’m not sure which day. It could be as early as Friday or as late as Monday. I want to wait and see how the weather is and make sure he is settled in completely before I breeze him. We’ll see how it goes, but I’ll probably give him one more solid work after that and then something really easy the week before (the Classic).”