Effortless flightline in the latest classic Pacific exercise
Many contenders for the September 3 TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) showed up at Del Mar August 27, led by line of flight the highest rated dirt horse in the world.
The brilliant colt, lightly raced, perfect in four starts and winner of the Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap (G1) on June 11 at Belmont Park in his only start in 2022, he effortlessly went five furlongs in: 59 3/5 under the gaze of coach John Sadler. Assistant coach Juan Leyva barely moved his hands on the stretch aboard the 4-year-old son carpet who continued to gallop enthusiastically under slight duress.
✈️🏇 FLIGHT LINE 🏇✈️
1⃣ week at G1 TVG PACIFIC CLASSIC! pic.twitter.com/oes6bEktJ9
—TVG (@TVG) August 27, 2022
“It was like we did every week, trying to get away from the relaxed post,” Leyva said in a video interview posted to Twitter with West Point Thoroughbreds’ Jeff Lifson, one of the colt’s owners. “That’s what he did today. He recovered slowly, eighth by eighth. That’s really what we wanted, just easy work before the race, just enough to take the lead, but without take nothing out of the tank.”
The move follows two longer runs at Del Mar this month, a six-stage 1:12 2/5 workout on August 13, followed by a seven-stage 1:24 drill on August 20. Flightline has maintained a regular weekly work schedule since resuming training on July 9 following its six-length Met Mile triumph.
Register for BloodHorse Daily
Leyva said Saturday’s work was less speed-focused than Flightline’s final work ahead of the Met Mile, a shorter race that followed a long break from racing. The colt won $794,800 for owners Hronis Racing, Siena Farm, Summer Wind Equine, West Point Thoroughbreds and Woodford Racing.
Asked by Lifson if Leyva felt relieved to have finished the final work before the Pacific Classic, he replied and laughed, “No. There’s never any relief with this horse. There never is. “
“I get joy riding it every day,” he added. “I love working with him and I love the progression he’s made this year. It’s pretty amazing. I’m just blessed to be in his presence.”
Rider and assistant trainer Juan Leyva after the final work for Flightline before the @TVG Pacific Classic. @SienaFarmKY @woodfordracing @stephrosa3 @sadlerracing @KostaHronis @MoreSummerWind @LanesEndFarms pic.twitter.com/sFYSa65QQW
— Jeff Lifson (@jefflifson) August 27, 2022
Regular jockey Flavien Prat retains the mount in the Pacific Classic.
Flightline will be a prohibitive favorite in the 1 1/4 mile Pacific Classic, which will mark its first start around two turns and beyond a mile. The $1 million race offers an automatic, paid place to its winner in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) on November 5 at Keeneland.
Nine horses, all based in Southern California, have been nominated for the Pacific Classic, some of which could skip the race. Other horses nominated to work on Saturday included country grammar (five stages in 1:00), Express train (six stages in 1:12 4/5), Extra hope (six stages in 1:12), Stilleto Boy (five stadia in 1:00), and 3 years Taiba (six stages in 1:12). The latter should not run in the Pacific Classic. One option for him is the Pennsylvania Derby on September 24 (G1) at Parx Racing.
Positions for the Pacific Classic will be drawn on August 30.