Missed the Cut ‘Flies’ Leyva Back to Keeneland

April 18, 2024

Missed the Cut scoring the San Luis Rey. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

MSW is Entered in the Visitlex Elkhorn 

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Keeneland Press Release

LEXINGTON, Ky.— In the fall of 2022, Southern California-based Juan Leyva was at Keeneland in the center of the phenomenon that was Flightline.

On Thursday, Leyva was back on the track with Bee Zee, Lane’s End Racing, St. Elias Stable, Edward Babington and Edward and Lynne Hudson’s Missed the Cut, who figures to be a major player in Saturday’s 39th running of the $350,000 VisitLEX Elkhorn (G2) going a mile and a half on the turf.

“Hard to believe it has been that long,” Leyva said of returning to Keeneland. “The last time I was in Kentucky was last spring at Churchill when we brought Anywho for a stakes, but she got sick on us and didn’t get to run.”

Leyva, the top assistant to trainer John Sadler, was the morning partner of Flightline, who finished an undefeated career with an 8¼-length blowout victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland. He was voted Horse of the Year and champion older dirt male.

Flightline with Exercise Rider and assistant trainer Juan Leyva aboard. (Zoe Metz/DMTC)

“That was very magical and stressful at the same time, especially the last day knowing that he was not going to run again,” Leyva said. “You don’t forget it; you chase it.”

The Sadler team now is chasing the VisitLEX Elkhorn with Missed the Cut, who galloped on the main track and walked through the Paddock and Walking Ring later in the morning.

Missed the Cut began his career in Europe, where he won three of his first four races on turf with two victories coming at 1¼ miles. He arrived in the Sadler barn last spring for a campaign that ended with a run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita.

“The owners wanted to see if he was a dirt horse,” Leyva said. “He had won a stake (the Tokyo City-G3) going a mile and a half on the dirt, and they gave it a shot.”

Missed the Cut finished 12th in the Classic and has returned to the grass.

“He’s been doing very well,” Leyva said. “He was second to Phil D’Amato’s good horse Easter (FR) (in the San Gabriel-G2) and then he won his next two.”

Juan Leyva. (Photo by Katie Jones/Courtesy of Del Mar Turf Club)

Missed the Cut won both of those races as the favorite in the San Marcos (G3) going 1¼ miles and the San Luis Rey (G3) at 1½ miles. Irad Ortiz Jr., who was aboard Missed the Cut in the San Gabriel, has the mount Saturday.

When Leyva returns to California on Sunday, one of the horses waiting for him will be a 3-year-old named Eagles Flight.

“He’s a half to Flightline by Curlin, and he’s working this morning (at Santa Anita),” Leyva said. “He is unraced, but he is getting ready to run.”

@jonathanstettin I for one can still actually feel the pall cast over the crowd and game that day. It was palpable. Kudos 2/2

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