“I was just trying not to cry so hard that I couldn’t see him when he crossed the finish line,” she said. “You can’t expect this. You can’t wish for it. And for it to happen and for him to continue to grow the way he is, better and better and better, it’s just a miracle.”
Lyon held the red roses in the winner’s circle, drawing congratulations from several of Flightline’s co-owners. It was Lyon who shepherded the creation of Flightline, a colt she bred in Kentucky crossing the Indian Charlie a mare feathered with Carpet . Even those fine pedigrees could give no indication that it could produce the incredible performance that the crowd witnessed in the $1,000,500 Pacific Classic.
Jane Lyon of Summer Wind Equine
Flightline was expected to win, despite never having raced further than a mile and facing five graded stakes winners, including Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1) winner Country Grammarian . But the way he did it was something that few, if anyone, had ever seen before. Finally, Secretariat The 31-length Belmont victory was almost 50 years ago.
Flyline put himself in the race straight from the start, even though horses on both sides knocked him out of the gate. He took the early lead on the outside despite being a long shot Extra Hope racing onto the rail, actually getting ahead of Flightline as the well-packed field headed into the first turn.
Racing wide with Prat looking to keep him settled, Flightline began the attack that would quickly launch him into another dimension. At the five-eighth pole, he took command and would never relinquish it.
Was that too soon to go to the lead? With a mere mortal tackling 1 1/4 miles, maybe so. But this was Flightline. He lengthened his stride, and the distance began to increase—one length, then 10, then 13. The fractions looked like Flightline might slow down, as he completed six furlongs in 1:09.97, but looking at the way he moved, no one. waited for a horse to approach him.
“When we went into the final turn, he was traveling so well that I asked him to take it a little bit,” Prat said. “As soon as I looked back and saw how far ahead he was, I wrapped around him.”
The crowd roared as Flightline galloped down the stretch, and Jane Lyon tried to keep those tears at bay. Jaws dropped when Flightline crossed the finish line by an incredible distance, which was later calculated to be 19 1/4 lengths. Even with Prat holding him back, Flightline stopped the clock in 1:59.28, just 0.17 away. Candy Ride ‘s stakes and record, accomplished in the 2003 Pacific Classic. Country Grammer finished second, seven lengths ahead Royal Ship in a third.
Flightline’s margin obliterated the Pacific Classic record of 12 1/2 lengths, set in 2019 by Accelerate as Flightline trained by John Sadler, who has now trained four of the last five winners of the Pacific Classic.
When co-owner Kosta Hronis heard the official margin, he laughed and said, “Well, there goes the Accelerator record—loud Accelerator.”
Hronis owned Accelerate in the name of his family’s Hronis Racing. Kosta, his wife Stephanie, and brother Pete own Flightline in partnership with Summer Wind Equine de Lyon, Siena Farm, West Point Thoroughbreds, and Woodford Racing.
The Flightline leagues enjoy the trophy presentation for the Pacific Classic
Flight line was never tested, won all five of his races. It’s a light schedule for a 4-year-old, but a few things kept him from starting until April of his 3-year-old season, and the colt also had a minor setback early this year. Sadler has long said it’s important to take advantage of his incredible speed.
“This horse is so brilliant that you have to separate his races a little bit because he’s in his own category,” Sadler said. “I know him well, and I know what’s best for him is to build up his energy between races. We’d all like to see him run more times, but when he runs like this, you don’t need to run him more times. Enjoy those , in which you run.”
Flightline earned a Breeders’ Cup Challenge berth to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) with his Pacific Classic victory. Sadler was confident enough to train the colt into that race, without going in next month’s Awesome Again Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Parkthe final Classic preparation for West Coast-based horses.
Sadler has been impressed with Flightline since he first saw him, after David Ingordo, who has bought many of Sadler’s top runners, advised buying the colt for $1 million as a yearling in 2019 at The Saratoga Sale, Fasig’s first yearling sale. Tipton in Saratoga. Springs, NY Ingordo bought him for West Point Thoroughbreds, and the current partnership quickly came together.
Flightline’s five winning margins now total 62 3/4 lengths.