Flightline romps in Breeders’ Cup Classic

Your eyes aren’t fooling you, and you don’t have to adjust your television set. Flightline is that good.

The four-year-old Flightline, a Tapit colt trained by John Sadler, completed an undefeated season with a dominant, 8 1/4-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 1, $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, and he did it the way he has throughout his career: with consummate ease.

Under regular pilot Flavien Prat – the only rider to team with Flightline in a race – Flightline was away alertly to stalk the pace of the Todd Pletcher-trained Life Is Good. That runner set down swift early fractions, 22.55 seconds for the opening quarter, 45.57 for the half, and 1:09.62 for three quarters.

After the first six furlongs, Life Is Good maintained a 2 ½-length lead over Flightline. By that point it was already 13 lengths back to the rest, and Prat was still calm, cool, and collected aboard the .44-1 favorite.

Rounding the far turn, Prat and his mount bid up to even terms even as the jockey kept looking back. In the lane, he drew away from his rival readily while never threatened, winning off by 8 ¼ lengths in 2:00.05 seconds for 1 ¼ miles over a fast main track.

Olympiad rallied late for second, a half-length better than Taiba. It was another 2 ½ lengths back to Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike, who finished fourth, while Life Is Good faded to fifth. Three-year-old Epicenter, off as the second choice, pulled up and was vanned off.

Flightline is now six-for-six in his career, and the triumph pushed his lifetime bankroll to more than $4.5 million. He is trained by John Sadler for Hronis Racing LLC, Siena Farm LLC, Summer Wind Equine LLC, West Point Thoroughbreds and Woodford Racing LLC. West Point had originally purchased him as a yearling for $1 million.

The shortest-priced favorite of this year’s Breeders’ Cup, Flightline paid $2.88 to win. The exacta returned $17.87 on a one-dollar wager.

Flightline romped home in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Photo by Tim Sudduth/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup.


Euros in the Turf: European horses dominated the turf races once again. They won six of the seven turf contests over two days, the lone exception being Caravel’s 42-1 shocker in the Turf Sprint. In four of the turf contests, the top pair both were bred in Europe… Trainer Aidan O’Brien and Charlie Appleby split the honors, each winning three turf races… Ryan Moore won on all three of O’Brien’s winners, while William Buick rode two of Appleby’s; James Doyle rode Rebel’s Romance to win the Turf…

Irad: Jockey Irad Ortiz won three of the Breeders’ Cup races, scoring on Saturday on Elite Power (trainer Bill Mott) in the Sprint and Goodnight Olive (Chad Brown) in the Filly and Mare Sprint. On Friday he gave Forte a perfect trip off the speed to upset the Juvenile with Forte for trainer Todd Pletcher…

No, Jackie, no! For the second straight year, Jackie’s Warrior was beaten at odds-on in the Sprint. Last year, he finished sixth at 1-2 odds. This time, under jockey Joel Rosario, the Steve Asmussen trainee stalked the pace of longshot Super Ocho, bid up to near-even terms in mid-stretch but tired to finish third beaten by 1 ¾ lengths at odds of 0.77-1…

Not so favorable: Favorites did well enough on the weekend, winning five of the 14 Breeders’ Cup contests (35.7%). But oddly enough, it was somewhat tough sledding for the shortest-priced winners. While Flightline won at odds-on, the next three shortest-priced horses and five of the next six all were defeated. That included odds-on types Cave Rock (0.47-1) in the Juvenile and Jackie’ Warrior (0.77-1) in the Sprint.