How good was Flightline? The son of Tapit came into Sunday’s Grade 1 Runhappy Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita Park with two wins in as many starts, all at odds-on and each earning gushing praise from his connections and adoring fans.
The Malibu, Santa Anita’s traditional Opening Day co-feature, was supposed to be a bit of an acid test against proven stakes winners and promising upstarts. Flightline made easy work of his six opponents, winning by 11 1/2 lengths under Flavien Prat’s hammerlock in 1:21.37 for the 7 furlongs.
Trainer John Sadler called him “brilliant” and “not an ordinary horse.”
Prat, aboard for the other 13 1/4- and 12 3/4-length victories, called him “amazing” and “brilliant” and that he “was in cruise control the whole race.”
All that praise harkened back to an early August night in Saratoga, when the already named colt offered as Hip 80 went through the Fasig-Tipton sales ring and landed the only seven-figure purchase of the evening. West Point Thoroughbreds and Lane’s End Bloodstock, through agent David Ingordo, bought the colt out of Grade 3 winner Feathered who wound up the co-third most expensive horse of the sale.
The co-sale toppers – the Curlin colt First Captain and Curlin colt Conquer the World – sold for $1.5 million. They’re both winners, the former a graded-stakes winner, and the other $1 million yearling, another son of Curlin now named Will E. Sutton, is also a winner. With all due respect, they don’t seem to be in the same realm as Flightline. But then again, not many 3-year-olds still in training at this point seem to be.
Here’s how we covered Night 1 of the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale, featuring the sale of Flightline:
Tapit On Top
Son of leading sire brings $1 million to highlight Night 1
By Tom Law
Seven figures. That’s the dollar amount Jane Lyon predicted a colt bred and raised at her Summer Wind Farm would bring during Monday night’s opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of selected yearlings.
When the hammer dropped on Hip 80, a colt by leading sire Tapit out of Grade 3 winner Feathered, Lyon proved better at predicting the value of her stock than any handicapper picking races in Saratoga or meteorologists trying to lock down an accurate forecast at this year’s race meeting.
“Very excited,” Lyon said outside the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion as bidding wound down during a strong opening night. “We thought he would be there. We had him pegged for $1 million.”
The prediction proved spot on when representatives of West Point Thoroughbreds, including David Ingordo bidding in the name Lane’s End Bloodstock and Terry Finley, landed the colt named Flightline for that price. The seven-figure sale wound up the only one of the night, which was marked by yearlings that sold for $950,000, $900,000, $750,000 and $725,000 during a session some predicted would be weaker of the two nights.
“We thought that’s what it would be but we were hoping, too,” Lyon said. “We’re really happy he did it.”
West Point Thoroughbreds bought the most expensive yearling at last year’s sale, going to $1.35 million for a Medaglia d’Oro colt with partners including Rob Masiello. Finley said partners for Monday night’s session-topping Tapit colt would “come together probably in the next 24 hours.”
“We’ll probably have a couple that will come in but we’ll have to show them,” Finley said.
They’ll show a colt produced by one of Kentucky’s leading commercial breeders from a rich Phipps family pedigree with Grade 1 winners such as Finder’s Fee, Fantastic Find, Dancing Spree and Furlough.
The session-topping colt is the second foal out of Feathered, a daughter of Indian Charlie who won three of 12 starts, $577,474 and the Grade 3 Edgewood Stakes in 2015 for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and trainer Todd Pletcher.
Lyon purchased the mare in foal to War Front for $2.35 million at the 2016 Keeneland November breeding stock sale adding her to the stellar Summer Wind broodmare band that includes American Pharoah’s dam Littleprincessemma among others.
Finley said he saw the session-topping colt for the first time in the middle of spring, when Ingordo took him around to farm in Central Kentucky to inspect yearlings headed to the market. He liked the colt then and even more when he paid a visit to the Lane’s End consignment over the weekend.
“He’s by Tapit, we love Tapit,” he said. “We thought he was a great physical. We thought we’d have a good shot at that level and I’m glad we ended up with the winning bid at the hammer drop. “The reserve I think was $749,000 or $799,000, so I know they had a lot of confidence in the horse. I’m just very excited. You keep buying these kinds of horses, I’d like to think we’ll be back in the big time. That’s what partners want, they want really top-end horses, take a shot at the brass ring so to speak.” …