Flightline Runs for America’s Biggest Racing Payday…and for History

Eight horses will enter their gates in the 39th running of the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Seven of them will race for second place on Keeneland’s mile-and-a-quarter dirt track if you believe the handicappers and bettors who made the undefeated Flightline the 3/5 favorite.

Saddled by John Sadler and ridden by regular jockey Flavian Pratt, Thoroughbred racing’s newest and
A bright star is expected to run straight to the lead which it will never relinquish. The four-year-old son of Tapit has gone a perfect five-for-five, winning by a total of 62 3/4 lengths.

His most recent and biggest win came at Del Mar on Sept. 3 in the Pacific Classic. In that race, he emerged from a light dusting of Pacific coast fog like a racing version of a mythical hero.

“The mile and a quarter, was the question before the Pacific Classic,” recalls Sadler. “He answered.”

…by 19 1/4 in length.

But the trainers and riders in one of the deepest fields in the race’s history may have other ideas.
There’s the Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up, Epicenter.

The Steve Asmussen trainee recently won impressively in the Traverse Stakes. The three-year-old son of Not This Time would be Asmussen’s third Classic winner (Curlin, 2007; Gun Runner, 2017).

“If it’s going to beat the old horses, that is [Eclipse Award] Horse of the year,” states Asmussen bluntly.

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Todd Pletcher will saddle Life Is Good and Irad Ortiz Jr. will likely pilot the four-year-old Into Mischief.
In an early encounter with the favorite. His speed is not in doubt. His endurance on the classic
There is a distance. A length turned an early Dubai World Cup (G1) lead into a disappointing fourth-place finish.

Imagine winning the Kentucky Derby (G1) and only being considered “worth” at 20-1. That’s the level
Disrespect will lead to a rich strike race. But trainer Reid says, whatever the outcome, 80-1 Derby
Longshot winner Rich Strike has changed his life as well as that of rider Sonny Lyon and the businessman.
Owner Richard Dawson.

“I love this because the horse loves it,” says Reed, who also says the flightline is the only other entry.
He has seen the training as well as the horse affectionately known as “Richie”. [Flightline] appears full of fire and
Ready to run.”

Bob Baffert adds his praise for the favorite and talks as if he is almost ready to finish a distant second to his Sept. 24 Pennsylvania Derby (G1) winner, Taiba. “It’s going to be just as good as last year,”
who led the Medina Spirit to second place over last year’s winner, the Nix Go.

While he says he’s prepared for the worst, Baffert has trained enough to know the best is yet to come. “It all comes down to showing the horses and running their races.”

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Hot Rod Charlie always shows up and runs his races, most recently by a nose in front of Rich Strike to win the G2 Lucas Classic Stakes. The BC Classic will be the first
Time A four-year-old oxbow runner will run against the flightline.

Trainer Doug O’Neill also joins a long list of Flightline admirers. However, like his fan favorite Daring Horse,
O’Neill is willing to give anything for what he calls a “once-in-a-lifetime horse. [in Flightline]”

“If something happens and Flightline doesn’t run its best race, and Hot Rod Charlie does, we
shock the world,” insists the optimistic O’Neill.

The connections for the Olympiad hope that their entry can shock the world and compete with the initial speed of
Flightline and Life is Good. Speightstown’s son will likely run down both for the Hall
Of Fame trainer Bill Mott’s 10-1 underdog has a chance to win.

Speaking of getting a chance, Pletcher thought that even at 30-1, another chance to enter was worth it.
small field. But his happy saver will probably enter the race with little chance. It will run along
A patch on a quarter crack in the left rear leg that cost him two days of training this week.

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It’s not serious and it’s not expected to affect its performance, but no contender will want to give up even the smallest of flightline advantages.

There are several talented challengers in the field for the Breeders’ Cup Classic and one of them
Among the achievements are also connections praising its rivals.

When that’s true, the most pressing questions—speed and distance—have received overwhelming answers
From the flightline, serious horse racing enthusiasts feel that two are still to come. Used to run in
Faced with no challenge, how can he respond if a fast-starting opponent “looks him in the eye”?

And some questions remain about the weather. Late fall temperatures are predicted at Keeneland
It remains cold, but winds have been blowing at 30 mph since early morning under cloudy skies.
And, a 30 percent chance of showers at or around 5:50 p.m [EDT] Race time. Used to floating on dry land, the uneven surface can muddy the desired result of the flightline.

In a few hours, all questions will be answered. Even those who lightly hedge their respects
If the hype surrounding Flightline turns out to be a historic victory, the racing favorite will be forced to accept it.

Feature Image: Richard R. Gross


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