Flightline Settling In at Lane's End

Likely Horse of the Year Flightline has taken in his new surroundings at Lane's End in stride Sara Gordon

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Lexington, KY – While the Flightline connections have been busy at the Keeneland November Sale assembling a powerhouse group of mares to send to their new stallion, the superstar himself has been settling into his new home at Lane's End Farm.

'TDN Rising Star' Flightline (Tapit – Feathered, by Indian Charlie) arrived at the Versailles-based breeding operation less than 24 hours after he cemented his place in history in the GI Longines Breeders' Cup Classic. Accompanied by John Sadler's assistant and exercise rider Juan Leyva and barn foreman Cesar Aguilar, the undefeated son of Tapit came off the van at around 1:30 on Sunday afternoon and then strode down the barn aisle and into his new stall–which is already embellished with his nameplate–without so much as turning a hair.

“Part of the Flightline team was here to help him get settled in at the farm,” said Lane's End Stallion Seasons team member Chris Knehr. “They did a great job with him for his whole campaign and he's such a great horse to be around.”

Knehr added that Sadler and his crew are welcome back to the farm to visit their former trainee whenever they are in Kentucky.

“It's a credit to Sadler's team that he is the way he is,” Knehr said. “One of the things that is so striking about him is that he's got a very big, very intelligent eye. We've all seen that in really smart horses and Flightline has that. There is a class and an intelligence about him that he can take in the environment and adjust to it.”

This week, Flightline has spent a few hours every morning in the round pen before returning to his stall and relaxing throughout the day. Knehr said that Peter Sheehan, who took on the role of Lane's End Stallion Manager last year, is confident that the big bay will get to go out in his own paddock sometime next week.

“Luckily, because he is smart and is so good to work with, he's done very well with the transition,” Knehr said. “It's just kind of a gradual process of letting him down and getting him used to being a horse again.”

Soon, Flightline will be available for the many breeders clamoring to inspect the new stallion. On Wednesday, it was announced that the 4-year-old will command a fee of $200,000 in his first season.

According to Knehr, their team has already taken a deep dive into analyzing Flightline's pedigree and has sought the help of Werk Thoroughbred Consultants' Sid Fernando to begin sketching out guidelines for the types of mares that would suit him best.

“He has Dynaformer and Storm Cat far enough back to where there are a lot of options with him and the mares that can suit him,” Knehr explained. “From that standpoint, the bottom side of the pedigree allows us to try a couple of different things. Obviously being by Tapit, we can use that formula as well with mares that have worked well with Tapit and even some of his sons at stud.”

Flightline was campaigned through six straight career victories by breeder Summer Wind Equine in partnership with Hronis Racing, Siena Farm, West Point Thoroughbreds and Woodford Racing. Many of those connections have been signing tickets on high-profile mare at Keeneland November in the hopes of sending most of those purchases to the new stud.

Summer Wind's newest additions include three-time Grade III winner and last year's Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint runner-up Edgeway (Competitive Edge) for $1.7 million, SW Park Avenue (Quality Road) for $1.45 million, and Grade III winner Proud Emma (Include), who sold in foal to Charlatan, for $1 million.

With Terry Finley signing the ticket, Gage Hill bought champion Songbird's half-sister Song of Mine (Ghostzapper) for $700,000 and made several more purchases in partnership with Determined Stud including Salty as Can Be (Into Mischief), a half-sister to Grade I victress Salty (Quality Road), for $2 million as well as the winning Empire Maker mare Finding Fame for $575,000.

Earlier this week on Monday, a 2.5% fractional interest in Flightline sold for $4.6 million to kick off the Keeneland November Sale. Knehr said that the results from the auction more than fulfilled the syndicate's expectations.

“I've never seen [the sales pavilion] as packed as it was,” he said. “The final price was beyond our expectations. The idea was to get attention from people outside of the industry as well. He has a national awareness and with the idea of the Metaverse, we wanted to blend some things together and get some interest in that and for the sport in general. We haven't seen a racehorse like this in quite some time. The attention has been incredible, both from a fan standpoint and from the breeders.”

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