Tapit's Flightline In A Race Of His Own In Pac Classic

Flightline | Horsephotos

The $1-million question heading into Saturday's 'Win and You're In' GI TVG Pacific Classic was if unbeaten superstar Flightline (Tapit) could handle the 1 1/4-mile Classic distance.

Here's a scary thought: he may be even better going longer.

Stopping the timer just .17 seconds off Candy Ride (Arg)'s track record for 10 furlongs established in the 2003 renewal, the dominating last out GI Hill 'n' Dale Metropolitan H. winner absolutely crushed his five rivals by a geared-down record margin of 19 1/4 lengths–yes, you read that correctly–in a performance for the ages while making his two-turn debut in the Del Mar centerpiece. Country Grammer (Tonalist), winner of this term's G1 Dubai World Cup, was second.

“Did I think he could do that–win like that? Kinda yeah,” winning trainer John Sadler said after saddling his fourth Pacific Classic winner. “You don't want to say it in front of the race, but now that he's done it. The thing about him is that he's fast and he can carry it. Some horses are fast, but they can't go on. This horse can. He's an exceptional horse.”

Off at his 1-5 morning-line quote, the Hronis Racing, Siena Farm, Summer Wind Equine, West Point Thoroughbreds and Woodford Racing colorbearer cruised up to the front while racing about four wide heading into the clubhouse. Flavien Prat positioned Flightline in a perfect spot in second just off outsider Extra Hope (Shanghai Bobby) through early fractions of :23.42 and :46.06. Flightline could wait no longer as they hit the backstretch and tugged his way to the front. Prat didn't get in his way and let last term's GI Runhappy Malibu S. winner do his thing from there and this is where it got fun. Very fun.

About a little over a length in front with a half-mile remaining, the $1-million FTSAUG graduate hit the gas while Prat continued to sit chilly heading into the far turn, opened an “embarrassing lead” per legendary announcer Trevor Denman leaving the quarter pole and was in a race of his own down the Del Mar stretch in an absolute masterful performance.

“As soon as I looked back and saw how far in front he was, I wrapped up on him,” Prat said. “Obviously, this is the best horse I ever rode.”

Pedigree Notes:

Summer Wind Equine's Jane Lyon has steadily acquired a stellar broodmare band since buying her first Thoroughbred mares in 1995. Although it may be hard to believe, her first Grade I winner as a breeder didn't happen until just five years ago with Moonshine Memories (Malibu Moon). She's added quite a few more in the last five years, with Flightline–rumored to be the most valuable stallion prospect in history–undoubtedly the greatest feather in her cap to date. Click for a feature on Lyon's beginnings in TDN Weekend.

Lyon bought Feathered, Flightline's dam, for $2.35 million at the 2016 Keeneland November sale, and never was a mare more worth every penny. Her granddam is dual GISW Finder's Fee (Storm Cat), her great-granddam is GISW Fantastic Find (Mr. Prospector), and her great-great granddam is the unparalleled Phipps mare Blitey (Riva Ridge), whose descendants include champion Heavenly Prize; MGISWs Dancing Spree, Finder's Fee, and Good Reward; and GISWs Furlong, Oh What a Windfall, Dancing Forever, Persistently, and Instilled Regard.

Feathered has a 2-year-old full-brother to Flightline named Olivier, who was a $390,000 RNA at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. The colt has been working at Keeneland and Lyon reportedly has retained him in partnership. Feathered also has a yearling colt by Curlin named Eagles Flight, a filly foaled May 17 by Into Mischief, and has been bred back to Tapit. Flightline is one of 95 Northern Hemisphere-bred graded winners for Tapit and one of 152 black-type winners for the perennial leading sire, who stands at Gainesway.

Saturday, Del Mar
TVG PACIFIC CLASSIC S.-GI, $1,000,500, Del Mar, 9-3, 3yo/up, 1 1/4m, 1:59.28, ft.
1–FLIGHTLINE, 124, c, 4, by Tapit
                1st Dam: Feathered (GSW & MGISP, $577,474), by Indian Charlie
                2nd Dam: Receipt, by Dynaformer
                3rd Dam: Finder's Fee, by Storm Cat
'TDN Rising Star'. ($1,000,000 Ylg '19 FTSAUG). O-Hronis
Racing LLC, Siena Farm LLC, Summer Wind Equine LLC, West
Point Thoroughbreds & Woodford Racing, LLC; B-Summer
Wind Equine LLC (KY); T-John W. Sadler; J-Flavien Prat.
$600,000. Lifetime Record: 5-5-0-0, $1,394,800. Werk Nick
Rating: A+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
Click for the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Country Grammer, 124, h, 5, Tonalist–Arabian Song, by
Forestry. ($60,000 Ylg '18 KEESEP; $450,000 2yo '19 OBSAPR;
$110,000 4yo '21 KEEJAN). O-Commonwealth Thoroughbreds,
LLC, Winstar Farm LLC & Zedan Racing Stables, Inc.; B-Scott &
Debbie Pierce (KY); T-Bob Baffert. $200,000.
3–Royal Ship (Brz), 124, g, 6, Midshipman–Bela Val (Brz), by
Val Royal (Fr). O-Fox Hill Farms, Inc. & Siena Farm LLC;
B-Haras Belmont (Brz); T-Richard E. Mandella. $120,000.
Margins: 19 1/4, 7, HF. Odds: 0.30, 3.80, 10.20.
Also Ran: Express Train, Extra Hope, Stilleto Boy.
Click for the Equibase.com chart and the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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