Three-time grade I winner Flat Out has been retired, owner Art Preston confirmed. Stallion plans are pending.
The 7-year-old Florida-bred son of Flatter won the Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott under regular rider Junior Alvarado Nov. 30 at Aqueduct Racetrack, wrapping up a well-traveled career with a 9-5-5 record from 29 starts and earnings of $3,645,383. In addition to the Cigar Mile, he took back-to-back editions of the TVG Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park in 2011 and 2012. He was third in the Gold Cup this year.
"He's one of those horses that had an excellent career with some problematic situations, but he always came back to prove himself," Preston said. "He's been the most interesting horse I've ever owned and the longest campaigner we've had as well. I'd have to rank him number one among the most exciting horses I've raced."
Bred by Nikolas Bock out of the Cresta Rider mare Crest Lil, Flat Out was a modest $11,000 weanling purchase by Picturesque Farm at the Ocala Breeders Sales Co. 2006 fall mixed sale when offered by Thoroughstock, agent. He was acquired by Preston in 2007 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale for $85,000 when consigned by Bluewater Sales, agent, and broke his maiden going six furlongs in December 2008 under Morris Nicks' care at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
Trained throughout his early career by Charles "Scooter" Dickey, Flat Out won the 2009 Smarty Jones Stakes going a mile at Oaklawn Park, but then spent some time on the sidelines and did not win again until he jumped up to surprise by 6 1/2 lengths at odds of 13-1 in the $300,000 Suburban Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont in July 2011—a 1 1/8-mile event he came back to win this year. After the 2011 Suburban score he was second in the Whitney Invitational Handicap (gr. I) to Tizway and runner-up in the Woodward Handicap (gr. I) to eventual Horse of the Year Havre de Grace, then won his first edition of the 1 1/4-mile Gold Cup.
A three-time participant in the 10-furlong Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), Flat Out finished fifth in the 2011 edition at Churchill Downs, was third in 2012 at Santa Anita Park, and ran eighth in the recent running also at Santa Anita. He was third in the 2011 Clark Handicap (gr. I), second in the 2012 Monmouth Cup Stakes (gr. II), third in the 2012 Whitney behind eventual 2012 Classic winner Fort Larned and stablemate Ron the Greek, and second in the 2013 Woodward.
He also won the 2013 Westchester Stakes (gr. III) going a mile at Belmont in a sparkling 1:32.99, defeating eventual grade I winner Cross Traffic.
"No matter how he finished, he always had a kick at the end," Preston said. "He may not have caught them, but he'd always be running."
Preston has generally avoided the breeding game, but said he plans to support Flat Out in his second career.
"I'm going to do that for sure; I'm making a plan to breed some mares to him and it should be a lot of fun," the owner said.
Flat Out will let down from racing at Preston Stables near Lexington.