DEL MAR, Calif.— The horse everyone will be watching and quite possibly betting next Saturday put in another eye-catching work Saturday morning at Del Mar, not so much for the speed at which he glided around the track, but at how effortless it appeared.
Flightline set fractions of :12.80, :24.60, :36.40, and stopped the clock at 59.60 for the five furlongs. Not bad for a work that trainer John Sadler termed “soft.”
“Last work today, it was very nice,” Sadler said afterward. “The idea today was not go very hard a week out. So what we try to do is just maintain his rhythm, keep him in the same place he’s been in. We were thrilled. He did a minute effortlessly and he’s essentially ready.”
His time was the fifth best of 73 other five-furlong works this morning which bodes the question, if today was ‘soft’ what’s going to happen when he’s really asked to run?
“That’s what’s so exciting,” Sadler says. “You look at the works and think ‘Oh, he’s working fast,’ but in reality he’s well within himself.”
Flightline’s stablemate, Heywoods Beach, will not run in the TVG Pacific Classic. Sadler nominated last month’s G3 Cougar II winner for the Classic, but is opting instead to run him in the G2 Del Mar Handicap on the Classic undercard.
Country Grammer, who is being pointed to the TVG Pacific Classic, also put in his final work Saturday morning, going five furlongs in 1:00.
“I like the way he went,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “He went nice for him. He’s not going to really light it up in the morning but he runs in the afternoon.”
Baffert also said Taiba, a surprise nomination for the TVG Pacific Classic, will probably not go in the race.
“This time of year you just nominate them everywhere to give you options,” Baffert says. “I nominated him just in case. Things happen and you never say never but the complexion of the race would have to change.”
Taiba, the Santa Anita Derby winner, is also nominated for the Shared Belief on the Classic undercard.
Among other TVG Pacific Classic nominees who worked Saturday was Express Train from the John Shirreffs barn. The Santa Anita Handicap winner worked six furlongs in 1:12.80. Additionally, trainer Richard Mandella worked Extra Hope six furlongs in a bullet 1:12.00 and Ed Moger sent out Stilleto Boy on a five-furlong work in 1:00.00
The post position draw for the $1 million, G1 TVG Pacific Classic will be held Tuesday around 4 P.M. The race is Saturday, September 3.
DMTC Press Release
Photo: Flightline after his Grade 1 Met Mile victory (Ryan Thompson)