HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Scooter Dickey had every reason to think that the best was yet to come from Flatlined when he saddled the 5-year-old son of Flatter for Saturday’s $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
“The Flatters just get better with age, like I had with Flat Out. If they don’t go wrong, they’re at their best at 4 or 5 years old,” said Dickey after the improving gelding registered his first graded stakes victory by a neck. “I thought if he ran the race he had last time, he’d have a chance.”
Dickey, who saddled a 5-year-old Flat Out for a victory in the 2011 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), had saddled Flatlined for a photo-finish second-place finish under Joe Bravo in the El Prado Stakes at Gulfstream Dec. 17.
“I learned a lot off his last race and I think that is what got us into the winner’s circle today,” Bravo said. “Anytime you ride a horse for the first time and they have little antics, you learn, and it got us the win today.”
The 15-1 long shot, who broke his maiden over the Gulfstream turf during last season’s Championship Meet, was the recipient of a perfect trip under Bravo in the a 1 1/16-mile turf event showcased on a 12-race card that also featured the $150,000 Hal’s Hope (G2) and the $150,000 Marshua’s Dancer (G3).
Bravo rated Flatlined well off the pace while saving ground along the backstretch as defending champion Heart to Heart showed the way to his 11 rivals under Julien Leparoux. Bravo maintained his inside position on the turn into the stretch, before easing his mount to the outside and through an opening that had opened up at the top of the stretch. Heart to Heart, the 3-1 second choice, continued to show the way into the stretch but began to tire, as Flatlined drove to victory on the outside while holding off a late-running Almanaar to his inside.
“Joe told me, ‘I knew I had them at the top of the lane.’ I said, ‘I didn’t think you had them until the wire,’” Dickey said. “I thought maybe he was too far out of it, but he knew what he was doing.” Flatlined, who won the $150,000 Old Friends at Kentucky Downs in September, ran 1 1/16 miles over a firm turf course in 1:41.29. Almanaar finished three quarters of a length ahead of a late-running Divisidero.
The Grade 1-winning Divisidero, the 5-2 favorite, raced far back in his first start in seven months before mounting a wide rally around the final turn and in the stretch under Edgar Prado.
“It wasn’t the greatest trip. Horses were coming in a little bit and I had to check a little bit at the beginning of the race. Then I sat at the back of the pack just biding my time,” Prado said. “Around the turn I was looking for a place to go and there was nothing. It was very tight. He started to make a run and I had to make a decision whether to go around, and when I turned him loose he gave me a beautiful kick. He switched leads and kept going and I thought I got it. Unfortunately, there was a lot of good horses in this race and you can’t afford to lose ground.”
Dickey said Flatlined would be pointed to the $350,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) Feb. 11.