Classic: Flat Out gets ready for Whitney

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Charles “Scooter” Dickey made a plan to come to the Whitney about the time Flat Out ran past the eighth pole in the Grade II Suburban at Belmont Park July 2. Preston Stable’s 5-year-old son of Flatter drew off to a huge score that day, taking his first stakes since winning the Smarty Jones back in January 2009.

In just his third start, Flat Out won the Smarty Jones and then derailed in the Southwest and Arkansas Derby. Dickey discovered a shoulder ailment, then battled hoof problems throughout the rest of 2009 and most of 2010. Flat Out returned from a 20-month layoff to win an optional claimer at Fair Grounds this winter. He came back to finish second in the Lone Star Park Handicap, then failed to land a blow in the Foster. Dickey breezed him on the turf at Churchill Downs, and took a shot in the Suburban. Sent off 13-1, Flat Out crushed Hymn Book and Rodman.

With the Whitney as his target, Dickey found a vacancy sign on the backside of Fawkes’ barn, taking a stall among Steve Margolis’ string. Flat Out got reacquainted with jockey Alex Solis Friday and appeared as though everything was on target. Dickey had one thought in mind when the Florida-bred dominated five rivals in the Suburban.

“That was his old self,” Dickey said. “We battled all these injuries with him, he won the Smarty Jones like he did this one at Belmont. He got a quarter crack after the Southwest and we went on with him, patched it, he wasn’t training quite right and we ran him in the Southwest and Arkansas Derby. He wasn’t training right, we blocked his foot, because we were looking at his feet, the quarter crack, well, we blocked him to his knee and he still wasn’t right so we did a full-body scan and found a little crack in his shoulder. We turned him out and got over that, had him about ready and he blew the foot out again. That’s why he’s been this long.”

Flat Out’s feet have come a long way and subsequently so have the results. If he can duplicate his Suburban performance, he would join a muddled handicap division.

“In January, he had four bar shoes on, had a quarter crack on every foot,” Dickey said. “He’s not having any now, I sure don’t want any more. Hopefully that’s all in the past. When we got to Belmont, he was training real good, and we were hoping for a good race but he ran better than we even thought. He missed most of his 3-year-old and all of his 4-year-old, hopefully he’s a late comer.”