LOUISVILLE — Like his trainer Scooter Dickey, Flat Out is an old-school sort, the kind who seems to relish his work in the mornings as much as he does his efforts in the afternoon.
The first part of that equation was evident Sunday as the Grade I winner sizzled 4 furlongs in a bullet :46.60 in preparation for his expected start in Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic. It was the fastest of 58 moves at the distance over Churchill Downs' main track.
Dickey might not have been overcome with emotion as he was following Flat Out's triumph in the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup on Oct. 1. Still, it was evident the longtime conditioner could not have been happier with the star of his five-horse stable.
"I thought he'd probably go in about :47 but he just likes to do it himself," Dickey said. "He doesn't need anybody to tell him what to do because he's going to do what he wants. He really loves his work. He's happier out there (on the track) than he is around here (in the barn)."
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Flat Out headed a long list of well regarded Breeders' Cup contenders who put in their final serious works at Churchill Downs on Sunday. Champion Uncle Mo and his stablemate, Travers Stakes winner Stay Thirsty — both of whom are slated for a start in the Classic — each worked 5 furlongs for trainer Todd Pletcher. Uncle Mo covered the distance in 1.01:40, posting splits of :12.80, :24.80, and :36.60 with jockey John Velazquez up while Stay Thirsty worked in company with Rule in a time of 1:00.60.
"It was perfect for what we were looking for today," Pletcher said of Uncle Mo's move. "It was very nice, steady, excellent gallop out. Stay Thirsty was a little bit quicker for the five-eighths, his gallop out was slightly slower than Uncle Mo's. But I thought both were excellent works."
Royal Delta and To Honor and Serve also left trainer Bill Mott grinning Sunday in their final works before the Ladies' Classic and Classic, respectively.
Royal Delta, winner of the Grade I Alabama in August, covered 4 furlongs in :47.80 while Pennsylvania Derby victor To Honor and Serve went 5 furlongs in 1:00.40.
"I thought it was very good, he was very professional about everything," Mott said of To Honor and Serve. "I thought it was a better work than it was last week, he went off a little quicker today. I thought everything worked out very well."
Mott won the Ladies ' Classic last season with Unrivaled Belle and was feeling confident about his chances of a personal repeat following Royal Delta's move.
"If you didn't like that, you don't like training horses," Mott said of Royal Delta's work. "You dream of getting up in the morning and coming out and seeing something like that and she went great."
Grade I winner Switch also worked Sunday, covering 5 furlongs in 1:00.20 under exercise rider Edwin Orozco. After the move, trainer John Sadler confirmed the daughter of Quite American would contest the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, a race she was second in last season.
Aruna headed to Filly and Mare Turf
Aruna, winner of the Grade I Spinster at Keeneland on October 9, will start in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf and not the Ladies' Classic, trainer Graham Motion confirmed Sunday.
Aruna had been pointed toward the 13⁄8-mile Filly and Mare Turf originally but with champion Blind Luck not running and Grade I winner Havre de Grace taking on males in the Classic, the Ladies' Classic became an option in the wake of her Spinster triumph.
Although Motion was concerned about Aruna getting the 13⁄8-mile distance of the Filly and Mare Turf, he was more unsure about putting the daughter of Mr. Greeley on dirt for the first time.
"We feel more comfortable with the distance after talking to (regular rider) Ramon (Dominguez)," Motion said via text message. "That's where she belongs."
Julien Leparoux will have the mount on Aruna as Dominguez is already committed to ride Grade I winner Stacelita.
Havre de Grace to work Monday
Multiple Grade I winner Havre de Grace, who arrived at Churchill Downs Saturday, galloped on the main track under trainer Larry Jones and is scheduled for a five-furlong work Monday morning.
Havre de Grace was pre-entered in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic and the Classic but will be entered only in the Classic on Monday.
"She is doing really well and acting like she is feeling better than she ever has in the past two weeks," Jones said. "She is very lively and acts like she is ready to do something."