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Flightline takes strong win at Grade I, $1 million TVG Pacific Classic Stakes

Flightline cruises down the homestretch alone
Flightline cruises down the homestretch alone in the Grade I, $1 million TVG Pacific Classic Stakes on Saturday, Sept. 3, at Del Mar.
(Kelley Carlson)

Jockey Flavien Prat looks over his shoulder to see where the rest of the horses are as Flightline cruises down the homestretch alone in the Grade I, $1 million TVG Pacific Classic Stakes on Saturday, Sept. 3, at Del Mar (pictured). His final margin of victory was 19 1/4 lengths, and his time of 1:59.28 for the 1 1/4 miles was just 0.17 seconds off the track and stakes record set by Candy Ride in 2003.

Dubai World Cup winner Country Grammer settled for second, 7 lengths in front of Royal Ship.

“I let him stay out in the middle of the track through the stretch the first time because I wanted to have him relaxed and comfortable. I didn’t want to get him on the rail and be bottled,” Prat said. “When we went into the final turn, he was traveling so well I asked him to pick it up a little bit. As soon as I looked back and saw how far in front he was, I wrapped up on him. Obviously, this is the best horse I ever rode.”

Flightline, a 4-year-old colt, is owned by Hronis Racing and Summer Wind Equine and partners. He is trained by John Sadler, whose has now won four of the last five editions of the TVG Pacific Classic.

With his TVG Pacific Classic triumph, Flightline earned a berth in the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland in Kentucky in November.

Prat won three of the five stakes races on Del Mar’s Saturday card. One race after the TVG Pacific Classic, he guided Gold Phoenix to a head triumph over Master Piece in the Grade II, $300,000 Del Mar Handicap. The race was also a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, specifically for the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Earlier in day, Prat was aboard Hong Kong Harry in the Grade II, $302,000 Del Mar Mile Stakes, winning by 2 1/4 lengths over Irideo.

In the two other major races that afternoon, Slow Down Andy led wire-to-wire in the Grade II, $302,000 Caesars Sportsbook Del Mar Derby, and long shot Go Joe Won nosed out High Connection at the finish in the $125,000 Shared Belief Stakes.

On Sunday, Sept. 4, Lieutenant Dan guaranteed his spot in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint starting gate by defeating nine other horses in another “Win & You’re In” event, the Grade III, $152,500 Green Flash Handicap. His owner and breeder is part-time Del Mar resident Nick Alexander. Also, Midnight Memories -- whose co-owners include part-time Del Mar resident Mike Pegram -- crossed the finish line first in the Grade III, $125,500 Torrey Pines Stakes.

Stakes winners during the special Labor Day race card on Monday were Teddy’s Barino ($131,000 Tranquility Lake Stakes) and Chismosa ($125,000 Generous Portion Stakes).

This weekend will be the final one of Del Mar’s summer meet. College Day is slated for Saturday, and Closing Day is Sunday.


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