Haskin's Classic Report: Billy's 'Ol Boys Back Again

Bill Mott has been trying to keep Flat Out and Ron the Greek as far apart from each other for the past two years, but when those big races roll around, that is simply not feasible, with both horses owned by different people.

The 6-year-old Ron the Greek, owned by Wachtel Stable, Brous Stable, and Jack  T. Hammer, and the 7-year-old Flat Out, owned by Prrston Stables, have combined for almost $6 million in earnings and each have an impressive resume of grade I victories that include three Jockey Club Gold Cups, a Santa Anita Handicap, a Stephen Foster Handicap, and two Suburban Handicaps, not to mention a slew of grade I placings.

Flat Out and Ron the Greek were at Santa Anita for last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, but were victimized by a severe speed biased track and ran well to finish third and fourth, respectively.

Now they are back, and Mott couldn’t ask for them to be coming into the Classic any better. Both look spectacular on the racetrack, their coats gleaming, and have been galloping strongly.

“If the track is playing fair I think both have good chances,” Mott said. “It’s the same as last year; I wouldn’t know which one I like more than the other. They’ve been first and third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, second and third in the Whitney, and, of course, third and fourth here last year. It just depends on which horse is having a better day.

“I will say this about Ron the Greek; since the Jockey Club Gold Cup (which he won by 6 ¾ lengths), he’s been working uncharacteristically for him. He’s worked on his own and he’s been really sharp, breezing a half in :47 1/5, out in :59 4/5 and I’ve seen him work in :49, out in 1:04. I loved his gallop out the other day, which is an indication how much they want to keep going.”

Flat Out, unlike last year, when he trained for the Breeders’ Cup at Belmont, where the sand can be more abrasive, remained at Saratoga this year, where he’s been training over the kinder Oklahoma training track, which is better on his feet that have plagued him throughout his career.

“The weather has been cool and crisp up there and he still has his summer coat,” Mott said. “A lot of times their hair coat gives you a pretty good indication of how they’re doing. You like to see a horse with a good shiny coat and good quality hair, and he looks the part right now.”

It is appropriate that Ron the Greek and Flat Out drew right next to each other, with Ron the Greek in post 11 and Flat Out on the far outside in post 13. They will be ridden by Jose Lezcano and Joel Rosario, respectively.

On a side note, if Flat Out should win, it would mean that Rosario will have won the three of the greatest races in the world – the Dubai World Cup, Kentucky Derby, and Breeders’ Cup – in the same year, on different horses (Animal Kingdom, Orb, and Flat Out).

Ron the Greek already is the only horse other than Hall of Famers John Henry and Affirmed to win the Santa Anita Handicap and Jockey Club Gold Cup, and a victory in the Classic would earn him his own place in the record books.

In other Classic news, Irish invader Declaration of War will go to the track for the first time Thursday, along with the other Aidan O’Brien-trained horses.

Tomorrow, we will have our longshot/overlay picks for Friday and some last-minute observations, as well as several more photographs taken over the course of the week.


Ron the Greek looks bright and healhy heading into the Classic.


This photo of Ron the Greek was taken at Belmont, but shows his habit of eating leaves off the trees, which he attempted to do upon his arrival at Santa Anita.


Flat Out paints a handsome picture as he waits to go out for his gallop.


Flat Out has been galloping strongly the past two days.

19 Comments

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lunar spook

Both had nice careers , but neither one has a prayer Saturday ! MY PICKS : MAGICIAN & VAGABOND SHOES IN THE TURF           NO JET LAG TO UPSET WISE DAN IN THE MILE     WILL TAKE CHARGE OVER DECLARATION OF WAR AND PALACE MALICE IN THE CLASSIC  GOOD LUCK TO ALL!!

30 Oct 2013 4:53 PM
Davids

Lovely shots Steve, Bill Mott's horses look spectacular and maybe the racing 'gods' are on his side this year. Would love to see these ol' warhorses mowing down the competition in the stretch.

30 Oct 2013 8:37 PM
Tiz Herself

Whether Flat Out or Ron The Greek win on Saturday, it has been wonderful to enjoy these two horses in their careers. The last few years with so many retiring whom I have had many thrills watching... is good to see.

Will be interesting to see what next year's 4+ older division is. Depending on the weekend's results and the sales, there are a lot of big names going to the breeding shed for 2014 (as seems the case every year)... I hope three year olds Will Take Charge, Palace Malace, Princess of Sylmar, Moreno, Mylute, Goldencents, Beholder, Close Hatches, Emollient, Capo Bastone, etc. come back

This year Oxbow, Violence, Prospective, Verrazano, Freedom Child,  

2013 saw Union Rags, Hansen, Algorithms, Bodemeister, I'll Have Another, Creative Cause, Gemologist,  

31 Oct 2013 12:18 AM
Tiz Herself

2013 BC Picks...

Still like Private Zone for the BC Sprint

Turf- Point of Entry or The Fugue. Magician is tough, too.

Mile - Wise Dan of course :)

Marathon - London Bridge, Ever Rider or Suns Out Guns Out

Juvenile Turf - Giovanni Boldini or Wilshire Boulevard

Juvenile Fillies Turf - Vorda, My Conquestadory, Clenor, and Chriselliam

Juvenile Fillies: Artemis Agrotera

Juvenile - Celburne, Strong Mandate or Smarty's Echo

Turf Sprint - Mizdirection

Filly & Mare Turf - Romantica (Love the pedigree on this baby - a daughter of Galileo and out of the mare Banks Hill (2001 Filly & Mare Turf) and half sister to Intercontinental (Filly & Mare Turf winner) and other major turf runners Cacique, Champs Elysees, Dansili, Heat Haze...)

Filly & Mare Sprint - Dance to Bristol, Sweet Lulu, or Groupie Doll

Dirt Mile - Broadway Empire, Verrazano, or Brujo De Olleros

Distaff - hard to pick - would love to see Royal Delta get her 3x, but love Princess of Sylmar and Beholder

Classic - Paynter, Palace Malice, Game on Dude, Will Take Charge, Ron The Greek, Mucho Macho Man, Flat Out, really really hard to choose

pray for safe trips for all these horses.

31 Oct 2013 12:45 AM
Coldfacts

I have nothing but respect for Mr. Mott and would like to see him secure his 3rd win in the BCC. His two previous winners were Cigar and Drosselymeyer.

Cigar was a 5YO and Drosselymeyer 4YO.  RTG the 6YO and Flat Out the 7YO are reported to be training well. However, is that enough to take them where no horse in their age group has gone before i.e., the winner enclosure?

The big questions has to be, are there younger and talented horses training just as well and carrying equally excellent physical conditions? If the answer to the question is yes, the prospect of victory for the 6YO & 7YO is very remote.

Neither RTG nor Flat Out have been previous winners of the BCC. What both will try to achieve will take more than excellent exercise spins and great physical condition.

There have been previous winners of the BCC that tried for repeats at age 6 and they have all come up short. Cigar, Pleasantly Perfect and Zenyatta failed in their repeat attempts.

The above cited three had résumés that far superseded those of RTG and Flat Out.

What were the ages of those that defeated the big three above?

Cigar was defeated by the 5YO Alphabet Soup; Pleasantly Perfect was defeated by the 4YO Ghostzapper and Zenyatta was defeated by the 4YO Blame.

If three previous stellar BCC winners failed in their attempts to repeat at age 6, what hope is there for those attempting to win the race for the 1st time at ages 6 &7?

Could perspective be secured from the BCC record of Perfect Drift?

He finished 3rd in the 2002 Kentucky Derby and contested the BCC for the 1st time as a 3YO and placed 12th. He made 3 additional attempted to win the race with his final attempt being at age 7. He finished 4th at age 5 and 3rd at age 6.

I love Mr. Mott but I cannot see his any horses wining the BCC. That stated I will include RTG in my exotics as I have always liked him ever since his last to first upset victory in the 2010 Lecomte.

31 Oct 2013 7:13 AM
Coldfacts

Tiz Herself,

I have a wager with a friend that Wise Dan will not finish in the top 3.

He was just salivating when I made the wager as he viewed taking my money, like taking candy from a baby.

Wise Dan won the 2012 Turf Mile in a NTR. The unheralded No Jet Lag recently won a mile in a few ticks off Wise Dan record time.

I saw the 3YO training and he was all the rage and pulling a bus.

Olympic Glory was just beaten 3 races back by the flying filly Moonlight Cloud in the 8F(G1) Prix Jacqeus le Marois in a time of 1:33.39. The great Goldikova won that race in a time of 1:33.50.

It appears Olympic Glory like firm ground and he will have plenty of it at SA Park.

Nine of Silver Max's 11 victories  were recorded on turf. He defeated Wise Dan in his first attempt on synthetic. Wise Dan had previously won twice on synthetic.

Silver Max the improved 4YO is now returning to the surface on which he recorded 9 victories. Enough stated!

Mr. Haskin in his latest 'And They're Off' episode, reaffirmed his faith in Wise Dan and again regarded him as unbeatable in the Turf Mile.

The aging gelding will have  to run another NTR to win and that has never occur in history and is beyond the capability of an aging 6YO.

31 Oct 2013 7:55 AM
Coldfacts

Tiz Herself,

"Juvenile Fillies Turf - Vorda, My Conquestadory, Clenor, and Chriselliam"

The above horses appear to be a lock for the superfecta.

Clenor could be upstaged by  Colonel Joan.  

They met last in the 8F Surfer Girl Stakes. Clenor won handily and  Colonel Joan closed from last to finish 3rd.

The Surfer Girl was Clenor 6th start as compared to Colonel Joan's 3rd.

Colonel Joan is a deep closer where as Clenor is a mid pack filly. She and the Europeans will be closing like run away trains and with any improvements after her last race she could upset them all.

Colonel Joan was produced from a  Dixieland Band mare and that should make very appealing.

Dixieland Band broodmares have produced Derby winners Street Sense and Monarchos, Derby runner up Eight Belles and Melbourne Cup winner Delta Blues.

31 Oct 2013 9:43 AM
Linda in Texas

Slew - PANTS ON FIRE is running in the Dirt Mile!  I hope you are okay. When you don't post, i worry as i do for many other posters, like Deacon, Dr. D., Ted from LA and his sidekick Bob from Boston, Needler in Virginia, and i could go on. Deacon, i did read your posts. And i agree with your shorter one!

There are many other horses worthy and that one seems to get all the hype.

Steve, thanks for the photos of Game On Dude. You know i have liked the 'Dudes' since they started racing and i feel the same about Game On Dude as i do about Lava Man.

Just now going over the official Breeder's Cup Entrants and they have them all listed with owner trainer silks jockey and everything by race. Very nice. As a novice race watcher, i have learned to note the color of the silks next to the horse's name. When 14 horses are racing it makes it easier to single them out in the thundering herd!

And I love the up close of Flat Out. I don't think i have given him enough thought. He is a looker! And the photo tells me he is saying, I am here, don't count me out, just yet! Love it. He was looking right at you as you snapped the photo. He knows someone famous when he sees them!

Hope every horse stays safe. And i won't forget Points Offthebench RIP

And cannot pass up wishing LUNAR SPOOK A HAPPY HALLOWEEN TODAY! And of course everyone else.

Linda

31 Oct 2013 10:29 AM
ksweatman9

Interesting to see how many fans have lost all faith in Wise Dan. Prove them wrong Danny Boy, make my day. I think the Distaff will be a real thriller, a classy field. I think the Princess will win with Beholder nipping at her hooves to the finish line. I could be wrong. They are all capable of winning it, all fine horses.

31 Oct 2013 10:37 AM
Weezie

Steve, your picture of Ron the Greek grazing in the trees at Big Sandy is priceless! Though I,too, am skeptical if these two ol' boys can get it done on the SA surface, I would be thrilled if they could add to the storyline of D. Wayne & Gary Stevens this year, as other old men "rising" to the occasion! Even if it was a freak performance, how I enjoyed watching RTG romp on Super Saturday, and how I wished that I had picked him in the JCGC! That being said, we all love to see the incomparable & classy Bill Mott win, but I'm wondering what Palace Malice might do with a different trip and under Johnny V this time?! I also must admit that though I have the utmost respect for the Queen, Royal Delta, after having seen her in person on rare days that she has lost, (here @ Saratoga in the Personal Ensign in 2012 & this year in the Beldame) I'm pulling for the Princess & Eddie Stanco & Javi to school her once again! Happy Halloween, but let's bring on the real drama of BC weekend asap!

31 Oct 2013 10:44 AM
JerseyBoy

The real facts about Olympic Glory.

Olympic Glory has never run on a firm track.

He has made 10 starts. He won 6 and finished second 3 times.

The wins were on tracks labeled - soft, good to soft, heavy, good, heavy, good to soft.

He finished out of the first 2 once. The track was labeled good in that race.

31 Oct 2013 11:00 AM
kincsem

Too bad Ron the Greek will not have a chance to run. He is such a big, beautiful horse and I was there when he won the SA Hcp...just breathtaking!

Coldfacts, Zenyatta was victim of one of the worst rides in history, preceded by showboating in front of the cameras instead of warming up, or she would not be on your failure to repeat list - she was BY FAR the best horse.

31 Oct 2013 12:37 PM
Linda in Texas

Quarter Crack = Ron The Greek out, how disappointing is this Steve? I say very. This sport is a surprise a minute almost and many times not a good one. This is a shame for RTG and  especially his connections.

Keeping my fingers crossed no more bad news. Please Racing Gods, a little good news would come in handy. For all.

31 Oct 2013 12:45 PM
JerseyBoy

Now that Ron the Greek is out, Palace Malice looks like the one to beat.

31 Oct 2013 2:52 PM
Ranagulzion

Coldfacts 31 Oct 2013 7:55 AM

Wise Dan is better than you think bro ...I wont say that he's unbeatable but it will take career best efforts and probably a track record to beat him on Saturday. If Silver Max doesn't 'bounce' off his Shadwell effort he'll again be dangerous but can't touch the reigning HOTY this time.

31 Oct 2013 3:01 PM
Davids

It's such a shame that Ron the Greek will not be running now. Even so, providing a 'tour de force' performance in winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup is not a bad swan song, should that be his last race.

Coldfacts, wouldn't you have to agree that the result of the Jockey Club Gold Cup totally repudiates your 'theory' regarding the chances of 6 & 7 year old horses wining the Breeders' Cup Classic?

31 Oct 2013 4:22 PM
JerseyBoy

How good is Olympic Glory?

From Sue Montgomery in the Independent, the day after his last race:

“Whether Olympic Glory is judged any sort of champion remains to be seen until the end-of-season ratings, but he is probably not even the best miler in his stable – which also houses Toronado and Sky Lantern – let alone any other. "He put the race to bed nicely," Hannon jr (the trainer’s son) added, "but he's always shown his best only on soft ground."

See URL:

www.independent.co.uk/.../olympic-is-britains-lone-source-of-glory-8891844.html

31 Oct 2013 8:12 PM
Greg R

After seeing the way the races played out on Saturday, I'm even more convinced that closers are up against it and that Mucho Macho Man, Game On Dude and Flat Out are the best bets, assuming the unknowable, that they break sharply and get good, forward positions early, without dueling Moreno or whoever else goes crazy up front.  But things don't unfold according to the "best-laid plans of mice or men." Look at Beholder, laying off the pacemakers in the Distaff.

02 Nov 2013 12:41 AM
Linda in Texas

ksweatman9 - you were not wrong. And congratulations on Wise Dan's wonderful win. Your 'Danny Boy' did not disappoint. Very nice.

Thanks Steve, sure hope you are enjoying the races.  

Linda

02 Nov 2013 7:52 PM

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