Flightline, officially the world's best Flat horse and mentioned in the same breath as some of the sport's legends, showed just why that hype might be well placed when he romped home in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

A perfect five from five going into the prestigious Grade 1, which was sponsored by Longines and worth $6 million, Flightline started as the 2-5 favourite against a deep field, but did not come off the bridle, producing an awesome performance.

Olympiad ran on for second, while Taiba was third, but the race was about only horse.

The John Sadler-trained colt, who races in the colours of Hronis Racing, Summer Wind Equine, West Point Thoroughbreds, Siena Farm and Woodford Racing, broke well under French rider Flavien Prat, who was happy to take a lead from the pace-setting Life Is Good.

The pair soon built up a huge lead on their rivals, but Prat seemed content as he casually glanced behind to sneak a peak on how his rivals might be going.

They were not going as well as the son of Tapit, whose rider again glanced back before the final turn and then pressed the button, allowing Flightline to take off and rip away from Life Is Good.

Born on the outskirts of Paris, Prat, a top-level winner on both sides of the Atlantic, had his first full season in the States in 2015 and is unlikely to regret the move given his association with a horse who has drawn comparisons with the iconic Secretariat.

The rider, aboard Flightline for all six of his wins, said: "He has shown so much talent, so we were expecting a great run. I thought it was a strong field, but he was an old pro. He broke sharp, which was a bit of a worry because he never really breaks that well. I was able to get in the clear and was travelling well. He relaxed really well and I felt I was in control the whole race. 

"It's horse racing and sometimes it doesn't happen the way you think it will, but I was in control and can't thank John Sadler and Juan Leva, his exercise rider, enough.

"He's tough to gallop, but Juan has done a great job."

The Californian-based Sadler's previous Breeders' Cup victory had come in the Classic with Accelerate in 2018, but that was his only winner at the fixture from 55 runners before his stable star soared.

"It was a great win today," the trainer said. "He ran beautifully like we thought he could and it's wonderful when it all works out. This is one of the great horses of all time, and I think he showed that."

Kosta Hronis, who owned Accelerate, is now involved with Flightline and - like the rest of those in attendance at Keeneland - was rubbing his eyes in disbelief.

He said: "This is a very special animal. He's brought something special to the industry. We need a hero, a champion, an undefeated horse and that's Flightline.

"He keeps stepping up and proving himself."

Baaeed, the European champion rated 4lb inferior to Flightline (135-139) when the latest official rankings were published last month, has been retired to stud, but the future of America's new darling is undecided.

"The partnership will get together in the next couple of days and discuss it and see how we'll move forward," Hronis added.

Junior Alvarado was half-ruing the result after he got the spin of his life aboard Olympiad, who was eight a quarter lengths behind the superstar winner.

"What are the odds a horse of that calibre shows up when I have something good?" he said. "It's not meant to be, I guess. But I was very happy with my horse. We were all watching something special with Flightline. 

"I was riding a live horse, a horse I love. He ran a beautiful race and I couldn't be more proud of him, but Flightline had to show up. I haven't seen something like him for many years. He's something else."

Irad Ortiz partnered Life Is Good, although his plans to outmanoeuvre Flightline did not get off the ground. 

"I tried to open up two, three lengths on him, but I never could," he said. "He was there every step of the way. I've never seen anything like that. It's amazing – he's an unbelievable horse."

John Velazquez, down the field on Happy Saver, echoed that view.

"It's a wow moment," he said. "That's a race for the history books. People are going to be talking about this race for a long time."

 

courtesy of www.racingpost.com