Flat Out, Cigar Mile, Aqueduct, 30th November 2013
Trained by Bill Mott, Sire: Flatter. Dam: Cresta Lil
“In the oil business, you get a dry hole and lose 80 percent of the time,” Art Preston said in a 2011 article in The Blood-Horse. “It’s like racing. If you persevere, you’re going to hit the big one.”
His seven-year-old Flat Out persevered. After finishing second in the Woodward, third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Flat Out won the $500,000 Grade I Cigar Mile for trainer Bill Mott, who trained two-time Horse of the Year Cigar. Preston purchased Flat Out for $85,000 at the 2007 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July Yearling Sale under a stable name, Oxbow Racing. Preston also raced as LOR (Lone Oak Racing) Stables and as Prestonwood Farm with his brother Jack and their late brother, J.R. He and Jack are frequently mistaken for each other.
A native of Oklahoma who now lives in The Woodlands in Texas, Preston graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in geology from the University of Illinois. After working as a geologist in the Illinois Basin, Preston and his brothers partnered on several ventures in gas and oil, real estate, cattle ranches, nutritional supplements marketing, fiber optics, restaurants, geothermal power generation companies, and, of course, Thoroughbreds.
Preston founded Presco Inc. in Woodlands in 1991. Presco Inc., a natural gas exploration and development company, has offices in Texas, Michigan, Colorado, Oklahoma and Kentucky and oil and gas production facilities in Colorado, Montana and Oklahoma. According to Presco Inc.’s website, Preston’s companies have developed and sold numerous oil and gas assets with cumulative sales prices, not including normal production revenues, in excess of $400 million.
His success in business allowed him to get involved in racing. He purchased a percentage of a claimer in the late 1970s, and then, with his two brothers, began Preston Farm near Quanah, Texas. Then they opened Prestonwood Farm in central Kentucky. Prestonwood Farm was re-named WinStar Farm when it was sold in 2000 to Kenny Troutt and Bill Casner.
Prestonwood Farm’s top horses included 1987 Eclipse Award Champion Sprinter Groovy; 1999 Champion Older Male Victory Gallop, who denied Real Quiet the Triple Crown by edging him in the 1998 Belmont Stakes, and Da Hoss, who won the Breeders’ Cup Mile twice in 1996 and 1998.
Preston, who had another multiple stakes winner this year in Flashy American, keeps his horses at his 800-acre Oxbow Farms in Paris, Kentucky, 30 miles north of Lexington. His current stable of 50 horses includes weanlings, yearlings and the ones now racing. Tim Schuh trains most of Preston’s horses. Preston tends to name his horses using the first letter of the sire’s name. Flat Out, a son of Flatter, has now earned just under $3.5 million.