How Flightline’s breeding led to its success
The breathtaking glow that is Flight line, winner of his first three starts by a total of 37 1/2 lengths, can be traced before his conception.
Her story begins with her breeder, Jane Lyon, from Summer Wind Equine. Her unwavering commitment to excellence led her to spend more than she expected to acquire Indian mare Charlie Feathered for $ 2.35 million at Keeneland’s November 2016 breeding sale. She later paid a huge breeding fee to send Feathered to the famous Father Tapit, which resulted in Flightline.
âShe has exquisite taste and she brings up the best to the best,â said Bobby Spalding, Managing Director of Summer Wind.
Lyon’s involvement helped attract Terry Finley, Head of West Point Thoroughbreds, to Flightline. âObviously, I paid attention to his program. It’s a world class program, âhe said. âIt’s a program that stood out for quality rather than quantity, that’s for sure.
Lyon, well known for her passion for horses, has proven over time that she is a breeder that buyers can believe in. “Finley said.” She definitely fits. She tops the list.
Lyon believed in Flightline so deeply that she was ready to remain a partner in her piloting career, helping Finley raise the million dollars it took to buy the beautiful yearling for the 2019 sale Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga Select Yearling.
âIt means a lot when you buy horses and I’m trying to bring partners together when you can say the breeder is still having a pretty big chunk of the equity,â noted Finley. âIt really says something in so many different ways. The partnership includes Hronis Racing, Siena Farm, West Point, Summer Wind and Woodford Racing.
Lyon’s acquisition of Feathered responded to its desire to create an exceptional group of mares which produced 31 foals this year. âIf you see all the mares she has here,â Spalding said. âIt’s like a child going to a candy store. These mares here are amazing.
Feathered, coached by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, has shown many abilities during his racing career. She won $ 577,474 winning the Edgewood Stakes (G2). She placed in three Category 1 races – the Starlet, the Frizette and the American Oaks.
âJane is very particular about what she buys,â Spalding said. âThere are certain things that she is looking for. Number one is pedigree, race record number two and conformation number three. They must have all three.
Lyon, Spalding and Dr Richard Holder, who had a successful veterinary career, produce a short list of three potential stallions for each mare. âWhatever she decides is what we go with, whether we like it or not,â Spalding said. In the case of Flightline, Lyon has chosen from Tapit, Quality Road and Curlin.
She got it right. Flightline, coached by John Sadler, passed his first year 1 test with remarkable ease when he started 11 1/2 lengths in the Malibu Stakes on December 26 at Santa Anita.
âThere had been no beating Flightline,â said Mark Glatt, coach of Dr. Schivel, later. “I don’t know how many will beat him or if he will be beaten.”
Glatt’s rave review continued, âSuperstar may not even be the correct term. â¦ It is certainly the most impressive horse that I have seen run live.
Feathered now wears a filly by Into Mischief.
“Terry Finley might not have the chance to buy this one,” Spalding joked. At least maybe he was joking.