• Guillot considering many options for Dwyer winner Moreno
• Shirreffs biding his time with impressive maiden winner Mentor Cane
Flat Out, who took the 2011 Suburban to earn his first graded stakes win, now has won five of six starts at Belmont. His next likely start is the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap on August 3 at Saratoga. In three appearances at the Spa, Flat Out finished second in the 2011 Whitney, second in the 2011 Woodward and third in the 2012 Whitney.
In Saturday’s Suburban, the 7-year-old Flat Out was closer to the pace than usual, but pulled away to an easy 2 ½-length win.
“He broke a little better than I even imagined him to,” said Mott. “And then [jockey Junior Alvarado] eased him off the other horse and he came again when he wanted him to.”
Earlier Sunday, the trainer sent 2012’s champion older female Royal Delta out for a bullet five-furlong work in 58.90, the fastest of 15 at the distance on the main track. The 5-year-old mare, second in the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis on June 15 at Churchill Downs, is slated to make her next start in the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap on July 20.
“She was super,” said Mott. “She really worked really, really well. Couldn’t be better. [But] she trained good going in her last race as well, and got beat, so …”
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Moreno, who won the Grade 2 Dwyer by seven lengths on Saturday in front-running fashion, will ship to Saratoga tomorrow and will be considered for several upcoming races for 3-year-olds, trainer Eric Guillot said by telephone on Sunday.
“We’ll go to some sort of derby with him, whether it’s the Travers, the West Virginia Derby, the Super Derby,” said Guillot, who trains the colt for Southern Equine Stable. “There are a bunch of options this time of year. We’ll see who is going where before we make a decision.”
The Dwyer was the second straight win for Moreno, who began his career in California prior to his 6 ¼-length maiden win on the Belmont Stakes undercard on June 8 and his Dwyer triumph.
“He got a little bored on the front end [at the end of the Dwyer], and he ran the same fractions as Flat Out [the fractions for the 1 1/16-mile Dwyer were 24.21, 47.36, 1:10.99, 1:34.86, and 1:41.07, while the fractions for the Suburban were 23.54, 47.22, 1:11.14, 1:34.93, and 1:46.87],” said Guillot. “He’s getting better, especially since he was gelded four starts back.”
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On the morning after John Shirreffs sent out Mentor Cane to a five-length maiden win at Belmont Park, the trainer expressed satisfaction with the 3-year-old colt’s development since his arrival in New York.
Mentor Cane competed twice in Southern California last December, finishing second to eventual graded stakes winner Flashback by 3 ½ lengths at Betfair Hollywood Park and a distant third at Santa Anita after veering in badly at the start.
“The first time out he ran impressively, just got beat,” said Shirreffs. “The second time was a wet-fast track and he was a little green. He was a little immature, and as soon as the gate opened he heard the sound of the horses’ feet, and he bolted to the rail and he ran through the bit and was a little out of control. We had to take our time with him, stand him in the gate, and teach him to relax and be a bit ratable.”
Shirreffs gave Mentor Cane time off following his second start and placed the colt with his New York string when he came East in April. Mentor Cane returned to the worktab in May and yesterday delivered an eye-catching performance when he dueled for the lead, put away his opponent before the three-eighths pole, and ran away to a clear victory under Edgar Prado’s hand ride.
While Shirreffs has no set plans for Mentor Cane, the trainer believes the Jerry and Ann Moss homebred is capable of competing in stakes. The son of Mizzen Mast will make his next start at Saratoga Race Course, the trainer said.
“Of course we want to go a little longer with him,” said Moss. “We want to try some of the 3-year-old stakes before the end of the year. It just depends on how quickly he comes around and what distance we run him next time.”
Mentor Cane was one of two impressive maiden winners on Saturday. Earlier on the card, Touchofstarquality, a 3-year-old Mineshaft colt, overcame a slow start to debut a 1 ¼-length winner for trainer Michelle Nevin and owner Jay Em Ess Stable.