Flat Out, a two-time graded stakes winner this year, will run in the $500,000 Clark Handicap (gr. I) his connections said Nov. 16.
Flat Out is coming off a fifth-place finish in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) on Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. He won the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) and Suburban Handicap (gr. II) earlier in the season.
“He’s been doing really well since the Classic,” trainer Scooter Dickey said. “Also, it’s a grade I race worth a $500,000. We’re excited about it.”
Owned by Art Preston, Flat Out finished three lengths behind Drosselmeyer in the Classic.
“He really didn’t run a bad race,” Dickey said. “Losing by three lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Classic is nothing to be ashamed of.”
The Nov. 25 Clark, run at 1 1/8 miles on the main track, could play a role in the year-end Eclipse Awards. But Dickey said that was not a factor that determined Flat Out’s participation in the race.
“A lot of people have been telling me that if he wins (the Clark) that he could be champion older male or maybe even Horse of the Year,” Dickey said. “It’d be nice, but we’re not really worried about all of that.”
The Classic was the third start at Churchill for Flat Out, who launched his career at 2 with a sixth-place finish in a maiden race. He also finished sixth in this year’s the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I).
“We don’t really know why the same Flat Out that ran in the Suburban and the Jockey Club didn’t show up in the Stephen Foster and the Classic,” Dickey said. “He handles the track fine, though, and has always trained very well over it.”
Flat Out’s one and only work for the Clark will come this weekend; however, the exact date of the work has yet to be decided.
“We’re going to see what the weather does and how the track looks,” Dickey said. “The earliest he’ll work is Friday morning, but we might push it back a day or two.”
After the Clark, Flat Out will be given some time off before being prepared for a 2012 campaign.
“The goal is to come back next year in the Donn Handicap (gr. I at Gulfstream Park Feb. 11),” Dickey said.