Sunday’s penultimate day of Del Mar’s summer season not only brought a six-figure rollover to the track’s elusive Jackpot Pick 6, but the re-emergence of one of the country’s sprinting stars in Flightline.

Flightline-Del Mar
Nobody has looked Flightline in the eye at the end of his first two races. He won a Sunday Del Mar allowance optional claimer by 12 3/4 lengths, clocking the best Beyer Speed Figure by an American horse this year. (Image: West Point Thoroughbreds)

While horseplayers were setting the betting table for what figures to be a $6 million-plus pot for Monday’s mandatory payout, Flightline was setting an exclusive table for one. The 3-year-old colt dismantled an allowance optional claiming field by 12 ¾ lengths.

Based on his previous, albeit limited, body of work, that’s notable in itself. But en route, as the 1/5 favorite, Flightline clocked a 114 Beyer Speed Figure and 130 Equibase Speed FIgure. That Beyer is tied with Baby Yoda’s 114 in a Saturday Saratoga race as the highest Beyer clocked by an American horse this year.

Flightline and Flavien Prat seized control of the six-furlong race on the turn. By the stretch, they led by eight lengths as Prat went into hand-riding cruise control. They stopped the clock in a blistering 1:08.05 on a fast track.

John Sadler trains the lightly raced Tapit colt for his longtime client, Hronis Racing. Along with fellow owners Siena Farm LLC, Summer Wind Equine LLC, West Point Thoroughbreds, and Woodford Racing LLC, they paid $1 million for him at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga Select Yearling Sale. And “lightly raced” defines Flightline’s body of work, albeit impressive.

Flightline raced only once before Sunday. That first race came in an April maiden special weight at Santa Anita Park and it was nearly as impressive. As the 9/10 favorite, Flightline blew away his rivals by 13 ¼ lengths. He covered the six furlongs that day in 1:08.75, earning a 105 Beyer and 116 Equibase.

With Flightline opening eyes on the track, an expected monster mandatory payout on Del Mar’s Single Ticket Jackpot Pick 6 opens eyes off it. The pool opens with a $694,803 carryover and track officials expect more than $5 million in new money plunging into the pool. The 20-cent Jackpot Pick 6 went unsolved for nine consecutive race days.

And so it goes Monday, starting in the fifth race and culminating in the 10th. That includes both Del Mar closing day features, the Grade 2 Del Mar Juvenile Turf Sprint, and the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity.

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