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Flat Out outfinished Private Zone to win the Cigar Mile on Saturday at Aqueduct. (Photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese/NYRA)

With a couple of Breeders’ Cup winners in the field, it was easy to overlook 7-year-old Flat Out in the $500,000 Cigar Mile Handicap on Saturday at Aqueduct, but the hard-hitting veteran proved again why he is a force to be reckoned with when on top of his game.

Flat Out launched his winning rally on the turn and overhauled runner-up Private Zone in deep stretch to win the Cigar Mile for his sixth career graded stakes win and third Grade 1 victory.

Flat Out won for the third time in nine starts this season, all graded stakes wins, for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and owner Preston Stables. He boosted his career record to nine wins from 29 starts with $3,495,383 in purse earnings. Flat Out’s other two Grade 1 wins came in the 2011 and 2012 editions of the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

“This horse, I can't say enough about him,” Mott said. “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. Although he has won the Jockey Club Gold Cup twice at 10 furlongs, [he's] versatile enough to get up and get the job done at a mile.”

Private Zone was gallant in defeat at 32.50-to-1 odds after setting a swift pace through a half-mile in :45.39 but could not match strides with the victor in the final yards. Flat Out completed one mile in 1:34.68 under jockey Junior Alvarado to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths at 6.50-to-1 odds.

Wood Memorial and Haskell Invitational Stakes winner Verrazano finished third with 2013 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Groupie Doll checking in fourth in a test against males. Groupie Doll finished second by a nose in the 2012 Cigar Mile. Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents was second in the early running of the Cigar Mile but faded late and finished seventh.

Doug O’Neill trains both runner-up Private Zone and Goldencents.

“[Private Zone] ran big. He ran huge,” O’Neill said. “It's one of those things where the 5-to-2 runs like a 30-to-1 shot and the 30-to-1 shot runs like a 5-to-2 shot. Just a head scratcher, but we'll regroup. We'll go over them good and figure out a game plan.”

Also on the card on Saturday at Aqueduct, Stopchargingmaria held off Got Lucky in the final strides of the Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile race for 2-year-old fillies. Twice Grade 1-placed earlier this year for trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Mike Repole, Stopchargingmaria entered the Demoiselle off a 10 ¾-length romp in the Tempted Stakes and prevailed on Saturday by a neck as the odds-on favorite.

Wedding Toast fended off a furious late charge from Toasting to win the $400,000 Comely Stakes by a head as the heavy favorite. The Street Sense filly improved to four wins and one second in five career starts and posted her first win in a graded stakes.

For Equibase charts, click here.

WEDDING TOAST EDGES TOASTING IN COMELY

Wedding -toast -comely -NYRA

Photo by Joe Labozetta/NYRA

Image Description

Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

Image Description

Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

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