FLIGHTLINE FREAKISH IN TAKING GRADE I, $300,000 RUNHAPPY MALIBU STAKES BY 11 ½ LENGTHS; UNBEATEN IN THREE STARTS, HE’LL GO TWO TURNS IN NEXT START
ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 26, 2021)–In a performance that lived up to the hype and then some, John Sadler’s freakishly good Flightline waltzed to an 11 ½ length victory in Santa Anita’s traditional Winter Spring Opening Day feature, the Grade I, $300,000 Runhappy Malibu Stakes. Ridden by Flavien Prat, Flightline, who is now unbeaten in three starts by a combined 37 ½ lengths, lengths, got seven furlongs in 1:21.37.
Never challenged at any point, Flightline fairly jogged home in a manner that reminded veteran players of some of the best sprinters that have ever graced the Santa Anita main track. With Prat sitting dead still turning for home, he actually seemed to hit his best stride on the gallop out into the Club House turn.
A 12 ¾ length allowance winner going six furlongs on Sept. 5 at Del Mar, Flightline, a bay colt by Tapit, was off at 2-5 in a field of seven sophomores and paid $2.80, $2.40 and $2.20.
Owned by Hronis Racing, LLC, Summer Wind Equine, LLC, West Point Thoroughbreds, et al, Flightline, who is out of the Indian Charlie mare Feathered, picked up $180,000 for the win, increasing his earnings to $259,800.
In a separate race, Baby Yoda, an attentive third to the top of the lane, outfinished Stilleto Boy by a length for the place. Ridden by Jose Ortiz, Baby Yoda was off at 16-1 and paid $8.40 and $4.60.
Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Stilleto Boy finished 6 ¼ lengths clear of Triple Tap and paid $4.00 to show while off at 19-1.
Fractions on the race, all set by the winner, were 22.01, 44.48 and 1:08.72.
Run as the 10th race on an 11-race Opening Day card, the Runhappy Malibu was one of six stakes on the program.
FLAVIEN PRAT, FLIGHTLINE, WINNER: “I was in cruise control the whole race, galloping freely. He was quite impressive. I wanted to get a good position and get myself into the race. My idea was to get out there running and see what happened. He has been brilliant so far. He really has been quite amazing.”
JOSE ORTIZ, BABY YODA, SECOND: “He broke very well, but I looked to my right passing the five-eighths pole and Flightline was there looking very comfortable. I couldn’t go any faster. When I was ready to make my move I did, but Flightline was too good. We were going very fast early, and for Flightline to have that kind of turn of foot later on was very impressive. My horse ran a winning race anywhere else. If Flightline isn’t there, I win. He’s a freak.”
JOHN SADLER, FLIGHTLINE, WINNER: “I’ve been stressing the last 20, 30 or 40 days getting ready for today. The next race is up to the horse. We have to be true to the horse. We will chart the course from there. This horse is so brilliant. This is not an ordinary horse, this is a very special horse. We want to do right by the horse and all other things will fall into place. He was late getting here. He had a foot bruise at Del Mar, so we backed off. After Flavien (Prat) got off him the last time, he said this horse can go further. He’ll go a distance the next time. There is a lot of pressure on you, but it is the pressure you want. It’s like the high school coach for LeBron. You know you have something special and he is much the best. This horse is there. You just don’t want to screw it up.”
WOODFORD RACING LLC, BILL FARISH, PART OWNER, FLIGHTLINE, WINNER: ” We hoped to win this, but to do this against this kind of field, this was the real class test for him and I think he answered it the way we thought he would.”
WEST POINT THOROUGHBREDS, TERRY FINLEY, PART OWNER, FLIGHTLINE, WINNER: “Things are pretty good this is a very special horse and I’d just like to say thank you to John Sadler and the team and to David Ingordo who picked this horse out, and Bill Farish who sold the horse, and Jane Lyon who bred the horse. It is a big team, it is going to be quite the night tonight.”
HRONIS RACING LLC, KOSTA HRONIS, PART OWNER, FLIGHTLINE, WINNER: “It’s always great to see a great racehorse stay on the racetrack and run as long as he can. We hope we can see Flightline put up a terrific year.”
NOTES: The winning owner is Hronis Racing LLC, Siena Farm LLC, Summer Wind Equine LLC, West Point Thoroughbreds and Woodford Racing LLC.
Santa Anita Press Release