The oldest horse in the field of 10 3-year-olds and up, Flat Out bided his time in seventh through an opening half-mile. Junior Alvarado pushed the button aboard Flat Out midway on the turn, and the veteran circled the field and entered the stretch with his sights set on the leader.
With less than a furlong to travel, Flat Out drew alongside Private Zone and promptly dispatched the pacesetter, who stayed on to finish second, two lengths ahead of Verrazano.
Flat Out, the 6-1 fifth choice, returned $15 for a $2 win wager and completed the distance in 1:34.68. The son of Flatter is trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott for Preston Stables.
“I put him in the race and made sure he wasn’t too far back,” said Alvarado. “For him, I think it was the dream trip, on the outside, clear, nothing bothering him.”
The Cigar Mile was the third Grade 1 victory for Flat Out, who won the 2011 and 2012 editions of the Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational.
“This horse, I can’t say enough about him,” said trainer Bill Mott. “He’s just been a real tough, durable horse, a horse that I’ve always felt may be as good at a flat mile as he is at 10 furlongs.”
It was the third Cigar Mile victory for Mott, who had last won the race in 2011 with To Honor and Serve. Mott also won the race, then the NYRA Mile, in 1994 with Hall of Fame inductee Cigar. The NYRA Mile was renamed in honor of Cigar in 1997.
The Cigar Mile victory was worth $450,000 to Flat Out, who was running for an enhanced gross purse of $750,000 as one of four Grade 1 winners in the field. He has earned $3,645,383 to date.
Plans are undetermined for Flat Out.
“I don’t know if he’s going to be a racehorse or a stallion,” said Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who trains Flat Out for Preston Stables. “We have to hear from the owners what they have in mind.” (Jon Forbes) Palace on hot streak
Palace, claimed for $20,000 in the fall of 2012, won his third straight stakes last week at Aqueduct Racetrack, posting a 1 ½-length victory in the 100th edition of the Grade 3, $300,000 Fall Highweight Handicap for 3-year-olds and up.
Trainer Linda Rice claimed Palace on behalf of owner Antonino Miuccio out of the colt’s fourth start, a maiden race at Belmont in October 2012. Palace won four of his first seven starts for his connections, all in optional claiming races.
In his stakes debut, Palace defeated The Lumber Guy by three lengths in the Chowder’s First overnight stakes in August at Saratoga. The 4-year-old entered the Fall Highweight off a 1 ¼-length score in the Hudson Handicap on October 19 at Belmont Park. Both the Chowder’s First and Hudson were restricted to New York-breds.
Palace is a son of City Zip, whom Rice trained to six graded stakes victories.
Palace is 8-2-2 in 14 starts. His Fall Highweight victory, worth $180,000, lifted his earnings to $532,050.
Other News & Notes
• Speaking by telephone from South Florida, where he soon will be joined by Grade 2 Remsen hero Honor Code, Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said the A.P. Indy colt came out of his victory in good order and will be prepared for a 2014 Triple Crown campaign.
“What impressed me the most was how he handled the day; he shipped over [from Belmont Park] well and broke a lot better,” said McGaughey. “He made the lead, lost it and then refocused. They went the last part in 11 and change and he beat a very nice horse [Cairo Prince] who’d run twice since Honor Code’s last race.”
Honor Code is now 2-1-0 from three career starts, having broken his maiden in a last-to-first effort going seven furlongs at Saratoga Race Course and then finishing second to Havana in the Grade 1 Foxwoods Champagne at a mile at Belmont Park.
McGaughey said Honor Code most likely would begin his 3-year-old campaign in Florida but left open the option of returning to New York for the Grade 1 Wood Memorial.
• After reporting that Grade 2 Remsen runner-up Cairo Prince emerged from his efforts in good order, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said he remains convinced he has a top 3-year-old prospect in the gray son of Pioneerof the Nile.
“He was wide on both turns and then when he got there at the eighth pole, the jockey [Luis Saez] was maybe a little overconfident and thought he was the winner,” said McLaughlin. “Honor Code is a nice horse, but we were giving him six pounds and to lose by a nose, we feel like we have the best horse right now. Moving forward, we’ll see.”
McLaughlin said Cairo Prince would depart for Florida this week, with an eye toward
The Triple Crown preps, possibly to include the Gotham and Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.
“He’s the real deal,” said the trainer. “He’ll get the distance; he was unlucky yesterday.”
McLaughlin added that Godolphin Racing’s 4-year-old filly Wedding Toast, who ran her win streak to four in the Grade 3 Comely, also came out of the race in good order and will be traveling to Florida as well.
• Todd Pletcher started 14 horses at Aqueduct on Saturday and won three races, including the Grade 2 Demoiselle with Stopchargingmaria. On Sunday, the trainer discussed plans for many of the horses in that group.
Pletcher said Stopchargingmaria and Demoiselle second-place finisher Got Lucky will go to Palm Meadows in Florida to prepare for their 3-year-old seasons. Lexi Morgan, fourth in the Demoiselle, will remain in New York.
Pletcher swept the pair of maiden special weights for 2-year-olds on Saturday’s card, winning with Dame Dorothy, a filly who debuted a half-length winner, and Surfing U S A, a colt who prevailed by 2 ¼ lengths in his second start.
“[Dame Dorothy] ran well, especially considering she didn’t get away all that well and circled the field,” said Pletcher. “I thought it was a promising effort. I thought Surfing U S A ran well, considering he recovered from a pretty significant stumble.”