Flightline, horse racing’s undisputed star of 2022, will miss an undetermined amount of 2022 with what is believed to be a strained right hock.
The Daily Racing Form reported the news Saturday, quoting trainer John Sadler saying that while X-rays were negative, the star sprinter’s gait was “not perfectly normal.”
This takes Flightline out of his next scheduled start, the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes March 5. Sadler canceled a planned Sunday morning workout at Santa Anita Park.
Sadler told the DRF he didn’t have a timetable for how long Flightline will be out. That’s another blow to a sport desperately needing stars on the track to take attention away from the litany of bad news off the track.
Flightline jumps five class levels — then jumps all over rivals
And Flightline defines on-track star. The 4-year-old Tapit progeny won his first three career starts by a combined 37 ½ lengths. His 118 Beyer Speed Figure taking apart the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes Dec. 26 was the highest Beyer by a North American runner in 2021. Flightline won that race – his first stakes outing – by 11 ½ lengths.
Before that, he dismantled a maiden field at Santa Anita by 13 ¼ lengths and an allowance at Del Mar by 12 ¾. His lowest Beyer of his three races was a 104, in his debut. He ran a 114 in the Del Mar race.
Sadler laid out a preliminary itinerary that had Flightline running the San Carlos in March and the Metropolitan Handicap on the Belmont Stakes undercard June 11. From there, it was either the Whitney at Saratoga or the Pacific Classic at Del Mar as the prelude to November’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland.
Instead, according to the DRF, Flightline will stay at Sadler’s Santa Anita base for now, the rest up in the air.
A $1 million purchase at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga Select Yearling Sale, Flightline is owned by the consortium of Hronis Racing, West Point Thoroughbreds, Summer Wind Equine, Woodford Racing and Siena Farm.