The $6,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Classic rounds off the 14-race festival at Keeneland but with Flightline being the odds-on choice in the betting markets, can anyone stop this Tapit colt from storming to another supreme victory?
There can be no doubt. No doubt whatsoever that Flightline is the best horse in the field. If you are one of those tipsters who just takes the fastest horse then this preview won’t change any of that.The fact the current odds at the time of writing are 4/11 that he takes this race says everything.
This lightly raced four-year-old has been spoken about in hushed tones around the US dirt racing scene since the middle of last year. He was tremendously fast when breaking his Maiden at Santa Anita in April of 2021 and looked just as good in an Allowance race a month later.
A summer off saw more questions than answers but a dominating rout in the Grade I Malibu showed us all we needed to know – Flightline was special. A strong run at the Met Mile in June vaulted him to the top choice for the Classic but then came the Pacific Classic. A 126 Beyer Speed Figure. Let me reiterate that. A 126 Beyer Speed Figure. The second fastest since these numbers were made public (only behind Ghostzapper in 2004. If it comes down to flat out speed, this John Sadler trained horse will win.
My only thought about how this doesn’t happen is what if he gets involved in an early speed duel with Life is Good? Does anyone recall the 2021 Saudi Cup when Charlatan and Knicks Go went stride for stride early both they ran out of puff and Mishriff beat the pair of them? That for me is a very real scenario for how Flightline could go down.
As for Life is Good’s chances, I’ve been a long-time admirer of the Into Mischief colt. Since being shipped out of Bob Baffert’s barn, he’s only lost once and that was in a sprint race to the superstar sprinter Jackie’s Warrior. Since that day it has been six straight wins beating the likes of Knicks Go, Happy Saver and Hot Rod Charlie on the way. LIG is a quite wonderful horse and the 15/2 price is way too big. A lacklustre win in the Grade I Woodward has probably cooled expectations of a great duel but that was one performance – and he still won. I know Flightline is incredible but don’t rule out this four-time Grade I winner.
I don’t get why Epicenter is the second-choice. That isn’t a knock on the Travers winner but this Steve Asmussen trained three-year-old is not in the league of the other two as it stands. He earned a 102 Beyer Speed Figure in his previous race and that is a step up from where he was earlier in 2022 but both LIG and Flightline have comfortably topped that this season.
Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike is a longshot but did look good last time out when beaten by a neck by Hot Rod Charlie in the Lukas Classic Stakes. Taiba is a live shot to be placed as outside of a poor showing at the Derby, he’s won two of his other three Graded Stakes races including at the Pennsylvania Derby at Parx back in September.
This should be a Flightline vs Life is Good race though and I am going against my better judgement and looking at the odds and taking LIG. I just can’t back the best horse at 4/11 and give me 17/2 for a horse of Life is Good’s quality against anyone and I’m taking it.
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