BELMONT, NY – Morning line favorite Hard Study took advantage of an easy early pace to win Friday’s $100,000 Flat Out Stakes at Belmont Park. This was the second start of 2018 for Hard Study and is his third consecutive stakes win.
The race started off with Harlan Punch breaking to the front to set the early pace of :25.80 and :51.23. Turco Bravo sat right off the pace with the pair of Backsideofthemoon and Zanotti close behind. As they approached the second turn, Harlan Punch’s lead was challenged by Zanotti while the 8-5 morning line favorite Hard Study moved up from the middle of the pack. Hard Study entered the stretch three wide alongside Zanotti and Harlan Punch but drew away from the pair with ease. Zanotti continued to battle down the stretch to finish second while Harlan Punch finished several lengths ahead to win. Backsideofthemoon passed a tiring Harlan Punch for third and Carlino snuck in to grab fourth.
I wanted to hold my position in the beginning,” said Jockey Manuel Franco of Hard Study after the race. “I let him break out of there and see where I was after three or four jumps. It worked out pretty good.”
Hard Study is trained by Todd Pletcher and Owned by Paul Pompa, Jr.
After the race, assistant trainer Byron Hughes was quoted as saying, “Up the backside, you could see he was making his way to the outside to make sure he had enough room to clear horses, which he did. And, turning for home, he ended up splitting horses and it all worked out well and he kicked on. It was a nice win.”
Hard Study returned $3.30 to win, $2.50 to place, and $2.10 to show. Zanotti brought back $3.70 to place and $3.20 to show, while Backsideofthemoon paid $4.80 to show.
Scratched: Watershed, Mills