At age 70, trainer Scooter Dickey wants his horse Flat Out to make his first Breeders’ Cup Classic appearance end with a win, but this touching story will not have a happy ending.
Flat Out is the first horse to earn Dickey Grade 1 stakes, as the five-year-old is garnering odds ranging around 6:1, according to BreedersCupRaces.net.
However, the Classic is not a normal race. The finest horses over age three from the United States and Europe will be participating, and three horses carry better odds than Flat Out.
Dickey had this to say about today’s race, which has a purse of $5 million, with $2 million going to the winner.
"It hasn't really sunk in yet. Come Saturday, I'll get nervous about the time we start putting the saddle on."
To me, it sounds like Dickey is avoiding addressing the pressure situation he’s put in with his first top-notch horse. He’s been a trainer for nearly 50 years, and it all culminates in a one-and-a-quarter-mile run that he only gets to watch.
If Dickey is like any other sports nut in the business, he’ll settle for nothing less than first. However, one shot in roughly 50 years gives him the role as long shot.
Flat Out won his last race, beating out fellow Classic runner Drosselmeyer. In June at Churchill Downs, Flat Out finished sixth, a concerning result for the contender.
Trainer and friend Larry Jones spoke about Dickey’s chances.
"If we don't win, it would be just wonderful to watch Scooter win it. I could root for him after I say, 'Oh, crap.' I want him to be at his very best because if I beat him, then he ain't got nothing to complain about."
If Dickey were to win, think of all the fun wordplay that could be done with his name.
"Scooter scoots to victory" or "Dickey excited about finish."
Regardless, the race is loaded with talent, so don’t expect Dickey and Flat Out to come home happy.