'When You’re Dealing With Top Quality, You’ve Got To Pay': Share In Flightline Sells For $4.6 Million At Keeneland November - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘When You’re Dealing With Top Quality, You’ve Got To Pay’: Share In Flightline Sells For $4.6 Million At Keeneland November

November 2, 2022: Flightline, trained by John W. Sadler, schooling in preparation for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky on November 2, 2022. Carlos Calo/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup

With his stock as high it could possibly be following a historic victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic two days earlier, a 2.5 percent share in the stallion career of the indomitable Flightline sold for $4.6 million on Monday at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.

The stake in the 4-year-old son of Tapit was signed for by Freddie Seitz of Brookdale Farm on behalf of a client he said chose to remain anonymous.

“It's a family from out west, some good clients of ours for a few years now,” Seitz said. “He was really excited about this horse, and just wanted to make a big splash, and get more involved in the business. He's dealt with some nice horses in the past, but nothing like this one.”

Seitz said the buyer has a small broodmare band of about seven mares, and he expected him to be shopping at the Keeneland November sale to find more mares to support his purchase.

The share in Flightline was offered from West Point Thoroughbreds' stake in the newly-retired stallion, who will enter stud at Lane's End in Versailles, Ky., for the 2023 breeding season.

More than 20 bidders were registered to vie for the share in Flightline prior to the auction on Monday afternoon. Potential buyers had to be screened and pre-approved by both Keeneland Sales and syndicate manager Lane's End before the start of bidding to establish their credit, and review the syndicate agreement and other documentation.

The horse himself was tucked in at his new home at Lane's End, but the Keeneland Sales pavilion was near capacity when auctioneer Ryan Mahan began his chant, all circled around Flightline's blanket of flowers and Breeders' Cup Classic trophy in the ring, earned less than 48 hours earlier when he capped off an unbeaten six-race campaign with an 8 1/4-length instant classic.

Seitz said he was on the phone with the buyer as the bid continued to climb. Much like the way Flightline won the Classic, Seitz said the buyer got more determined as the pace got hotter.

“He did not give me that kind of figure going in, but I could kind of tell once we started going that maybe we were going to keep going,” Seitz said. “I think I was a little more nervous than he was. It didn't seem to bother him much, but maybe it did. He was kind of laughing the entire time over the phone. He and his family were watching, and I think they were having a really good time.

“I wish we could have gotten him a better deal, but when you're dealing with top quality, you've got to pay,” Seitz continued.

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Flightline raced for the partnership of West Point, Hronis Racing, Siena Farm, Summer Wind Farm, and Woodford Racing. Woodford Racing was founded by Bill Farish of Lane's End, making for a smooth transition from the racetrack from the stud barn.

In the simplest terms, if a 2.5 percent share in Flightline sold for $4.6 million, that would presumably put the stallion's valuation at $184 million. For comparison, the Coolmore partnership reportedly secured the stud rights for undefeated Triple Crown winner Justify for around $75 million in 2018; considered to be the record for a stallion acquisition.

However, Farish said Flightline's ownership group – a broad roster including a representative of a stallion operation – means the stallion's actual value might not be quite so black-and-white, because Monday's transaction was an unusual entry point for an unusual stallion prospect.

“We don't really have a valuation,” Farish said. “It's a unique situation because the syndicate's already in place. The syndicate is a racing ownership group. Luckily, I don't have to go out – not that it would hard with Flightline – but I don't have to determine what a share value would be if I had to sell 40 shares. One share is completely different than having to sell 40. We had no clue where this would go for that reason.”

A stud fee has not yet been announced for Flightline, but Farish said Monday's result might have a slight influence on that figure. Either way, Farish said he already had a number in his head.

“I do, but I'm not at liberty to say,” he said.

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