'I'm Ready To Be Home For A While': After Whirlwind Two Weeks, Flightline's Trainer Back At Santa Anita Base - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘I’m Ready To Be Home For A While’: After Whirlwind Two Weeks, Flightline’s Trainer Back At Santa Anita Base

Trainer John Sadler

When you train a horse like undefeated superstar Flightline, you can have the experiences John Sadler has enjoyed the past two weeks.

First, it was a five-day trip to London last week where Sadler accepted Flightline's award as the Longines World's Best Racehorse from the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities. Then this week, Sadler went on a four-day sojourn to South Florida where on Thursday he accepted Flightline's Eclipse Awards for 2022 Horse of the Year and champion older dirt male.

On Saturday morning, the 66-year-old conditioner was back trackside at Santa Anita and “ready to be home for a while.

“It was great. We had two great trips,” Sadler noted. “The setting for the Eclipse Awards was beautiful, The Breakers hotel (in Palm Beach). It was like a resort right on the beach. Two great trips back-to-back, so I'm ready to be home for a while.”

In London, Flightline not only was officially crowned the world's best racehorse of 2022, but he received an official rating of 140 by a panel of international handicappers in what was a surprise move. That put him equal with the great European superstar Frankel, who was a perfect 14-for-14 on turf from 2010 through 2012. Additionally, Flightline's rating was the highest for a North American-trained horse since Cigar earned a 135 in 1996.
Flightline had originally received a rating of 139 for his 19 ¼-length demolition in last summer's Grade 1 Pacific Classic, but the international panel upgraded it by a pound during a meeting in December.

Sadler was joined in London by members of Flightline's ownership group including Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds, Bill Farish of Woodford Racing, Stephanie Hronis of Hronis Racing and breeder Jane Lyon of Summer Wind Farm in Georgetown, Ky.

Sadler noted the experience was like none he had experienced before in London.

“I'd been through London, but never spent that much time there,” Sadler said. “We got to see a lot of the city. I did more than I've ever done.”

At the Eclipse Awards, Flightline won champion older dirt male after receiving 240 of a possible 246 first-place votes, which included two abstentions.

For Horse of the Year, Flightline tallied 239 votes for Horse of the Year.

“It was good and better,” Sadler said of his two-week experience. “It was all just so nice.”

Flightline's international coronation comes following a career where he was a perfect 6-for-6 in two seasons of racing with those victories coming by a combined 71 lengths. In last year's Horse of the Year campaign, Flightline won the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, Pacific Classic and Breeders' Cup Classic by 8 ¼ lengths. The now 5-year-old son of Tapit out of Feathered, by Indian Charlie, was retired following the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1). He will stand the upcoming breeding season at Lane's End in Versailles, Ky. for an advertised fee of $200,000.

Throughout the two weeks, Sadler said there was one experience that stood out from the rest.

“It was all so great, but I guess my favorite moment was at the Eclipse Awards when they went to Horse of the Year,” Sadler reflected. “The (presenter) said, 'I'm not even going to open the envelope.' He goes, '3, 2, 1' and everyone in the room yells 'Flightline!' That was a great moment.”

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