Flightline Runs Away with the Breeders’ Cup Classic

Flightline wins the Breeders' Cup Classic

Wow. Just wow. Anyone who doubted Flightline’s dominance of racing right now is eating their words. After watching Flightline win the Breeders’ Cup Classic by 8 1/4 lengths, it seems that the comparison to Secretariat after his win in the Pacific Classic is valid. He’s the type of racehorse you rarely get the privilege to watch.

Flightline’s win of the Breeders’ Cup Classic was nothing short of spectacular.

Flightline missed most his three-year old season after being injured (you can see the massive scar on his right hindquarters — the result of backing into a stall latch. An injury that took three months to heal and then suffering from an abscess.) So he never had the same visibility as the colts who competed in the Triple Crown races.

However, he’s now six for six in the races he’s run. Coming up to the Classic, he had won his races by an average of 10 lengths, at distances from a six-furlong sprint and all the way to a mile and a quarter.

In the Classic, he faced the toughest field in his career and he made the win look easy. Up until the quarter pole it was a two horse race, with Life is Good leading from the starting gate and Flavien Prat tucking Flightline behind the speedster.

“You know it played out exactly how I thought it would. I knew Life Is Good would extend him further than he’s ever been extended, that he had to track that pace for longer than he’d ever have to track it,” said an emotional Bill Farish of Lane’s End Farm. “Irad (Ortiz Jr. on Life Is Good) tried to keep us out as far away from the rail as far as he could for as long as he could. But you know, this horse is just too good.”

The rest of the field was more than 9 lengths back. When Life is Good ran out of run, Flightline blew past him with ease. Olympiad finished second, Taiba was third, Rich Strike finished fourth and Life Is Good faded to fifth.

“This is one of the great horses of all-time,” said trainer John Sadler. “Most trainers don’t get a horse like this, so I’m just feeling very blessed.”

“For me there is a large degree of relief because I know he’s that good and I’m happy I didn’t screw it up,” Sadler said. “He’s got that rare ability where he’s a fast horse but a fast horse who can carry it a classic distance. Everyone was assuming that since he could run in 1:08 that he would be lesser if he ran further. But the reality is he’s better when he runs further because that’s when he really separates himself.”

Unfortunately, the race was marred when Epicenter was pulled up by jockey Joel Rosario on the backstretch. He was found to have sustained a repairable displaced condylar fracture to his right foreleg and will undergo surgery tomorrow morning at the Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital. Condylar fractures are one of the most common injuries seen in racehorses.

4 thoughts on “Flightline Runs Away with the Breeders’ Cup Classic

  1. Oh my gosh, I am so glad that one, Liz, you (in this blog) turned me on to the incredible Flightline, and two, I have been able to follow his career. And three…I KNEW he would win today, I am tickled because I picked Olympiad to place (but didn’t bet)..but mostly three, I SAW it. With my own two eyes, saw the most incredible horse since Secretariat. Oh wow. Wow wow wow like the dog in the night.
    Should he be retired to stud, or race in the Pegasus Cup, or do another year?

    Oh gosh, it’s a question akin to “should I lose my virginity to this guy or wait for someone better to come along.”.. 😉 On the one hand I’d love to see him run next year…on the other hand, I don’t want to see him get beat. Ever. Let him go out on the top of his game, having giving me the thrill I’ve not had since Secretariat ran.

    Without a doubt, it’s the best Classic I’ve ever watched.

    1. It was quite a race! I didn’t get to watch it live, but I was the person sitting in the back of a book reading frantically flipping through the news stories and watching the race on silent. I do think the feel good story of the meet is Cody’s Wish. Will publish that later today.

  2. Epicenter’s jockey , Joel Rosario, said that early on, he felt Epicenter moving oddly, and then at the first turn, definitely knew something was wrong. You can just barely see Rosario begin to ease Epicenter up at .46, then he’s out of the frame. And later on, at the far turn, I think, you can see the horse ambulance pulling out onto the track.
    Rosario deserves a huge pat on the back for knowing the race was done and pulling up. He saved Epicenter’s..and possibly his own..life. Epicenter will recover, he’ll never race again but I’m quite certain there’s a few mares who will be meeting him some day soon.

    1. Rosario deserves a lot of credit for recognizing there was an issue and convincing the colt to stop running, which was undoubtedly very difficult. From what I’ve read, repairing this type of fracture is usually quite successful. As you said, Epicenter will never race again, but will move directly to the breeding shed.

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