In addition to Mo Donegal’s victory in the Belmont Stakes (G1), Kentucky-breds dominated the Grade 1 events on the June 11th Belmont Stakes undercard.
Flightline delivered on the hype and remained undefeated in his career with a six-length romp in the $1 million Metropolitan H. (G1). Overcoming an awkward start, Flightline, owned by Hronis Racing, Siena Farm, Summer Wind Equine, West Point Thoroughbreds, and Woodford Racing, drew away from runner-up Happy Saver to score as he pleased in a final time of 1:33.59 for the mile over a fast track.
The John Sadler trainee steadied briefly behind Speaker’s Corner early in the race but recovered quickly under Flavien Prat. He surged to the front before the far turn and quickly put any doubts to rest as he powered to the finish in his first East Coast appearance.
“We’re just thrilled to have an undefeated horse, who won easy again,” Sadler said. “Things didn’t really go well for him early in the race. He suffered from a slow start because of the one post. Then he got cut off a little bit going down the backside. With a young horse who’s not that well-seasoned, he just overcame the adversity and proved himself best.
“He overcame trouble. That’s the storyline,” Sadler added. “He had a rough trip and took up a couple times but still circled around and proved much the best.”
As a 3-year-old, the Kentucky-bred won his debut by 13 ¼ lengths in April at Santa Anita and followed with a 12 ¾-length score against allowance company in September at Del Mar before leading gate-to-wire to win the Malibu Stakes (G1) by 11 ½ lengths in December.
A son of Tapit out of the Indian Charlie mare Feathered, Flightline was bred in Kentucky by Summer Wind Farm.
In another strong performance on the program, Kentucky-bred Jack Christopher rolled to a 10-length romp in the $400,000 Woody Stephens S. (G1). Run at seven furlongs on the main track for 3-year-olds, the Woody Stephens was Jack Christopher’s second Grade 1 victory at Belmont and the score cemented his status as the nation’s top sophomore around one turn.
“This horse is an exceptional talent,” said winning trainer Chad Brown. “This is my 15th year of training and I’ve never had a dirt horse with this much pure brilliance. He reminds me a lot of Ghostzapper when I worked for Bobby Frankel. He’s a brilliant horse that can probably run any distance.”
Sent off as the 1-5 favorite in a field of six, Jack Christopher broke well from the rail and stalked the early pace of Provocateur down the backstretch. As the field turned for home, Jack Christopher effortlessly seized control and blitzed his competition through the stretch. He stopped the clock in 1:21.18 under Jose Ortiz.
Owned by Jim Bakke, Gerald Isbister, Coolmore Stud, and Peter Brant, Jack Christopher was bred in Kentucky by Castletown Lyons and Kilboy Estate. Jack Christopher is a son of Munnings out of Rushin No Blushin, by Half Ours.
Kentucky-bred Clairiere captured the $500,000 Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) by a head over fellow Kentucky-bred Malathaat. The Stonestreet Thoroughbreds homebred was ridden by Joel Rosario and is trained by Steve Asmussen. Clairiere is by Curlin out of Cavorting, by Bernardini.
Kentucky-bred Regal Glory registered a 3 1/2-length win in the $500,000 Just a Game Stakes (G1) at one mile on the turf. The Peter Brant colorbearer was ridden by Jose Ortiz and is trained by Chad Brown. Regal Glory is a daughter of Animal Kingdom and is produced from the More Than Ready mare Mary’s Follies.
Early in the card, Matareya ran away from her rivals to post a 6 ¼-length victory in the $500,000 Acorn S. (G1). The Godolphin homebred was piloted by Flavien Prat and is trained by Brad Cox. Matareya is a daughter of the late Pioneerof the Nile and is out of Innovative Idea, by Bernardini.