ELMONT, N.Y. – Turco Bravo slipped through an opening on the rail and went onto a 1 ¼-length victory over favored Securitiz to take Sunday’s inaugural running of the $100,000 Flat Out at Belmont Park in his 50th career start.
The 7-year-old Chilean gelding enjoyed a ground-saving trip under Javier Castellano in the 1 3/8-mile race, tucking in fourth as Winter Games took the field of six marathoners through fractions of 24.61, 49.00 and 1:13.72. As Securitiz took over from the weakening pacesetter on the turn, Castellano sent Turco Bravo up into striking position along the inside, and the Winning Move Stable color-bearer surged into the lead at the top of the stretch and was never threatened to the wire.
His winning time was 2:15.73.
“I was trying to save a little ground and be patient, and it paid off today,” said Castellano. “[Trainer] Gary [Contessa] did a great job with the horse getting him ready. I tried to pick my spots and I was lucky to have the right trip.”
It was the second stakes win this year for Turco Bravo, who in March successfully defended his title in the Stymie at Aqueduct Racetrack. Overall, he is 13-14-7 with career earnings of $441,968.
“He really is a fun horse,” said Contessa of Turco Bravo, who came to the United States in 2014 from Chile. “He was a top South American horse when we bought him and he was a great horse going long down there. That’s why we bought him; we thought he’d do well in races like this and once in a while you get it right.
“We’re going to look at [the Grade 2, $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational on June 11],” he added. “The timing seems right, but it’s going to be a tough race. But the only race we’re looking at right now is the Brooklyn and then there’s the marathon race [Birdstone] at Saratoga that he ran second in last year, so those are the next two we’re considering.”
The second choice at 4-1, Turco Bravo returned $10 for a $2 win bet.
Neck ‘n Neck checked in third, with Catholic Cowboy, Elnaawi, and Winter Games completing the order of finish.