top of page

Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

2022 Flightline's Classic Analysis

Listed from highest chef inbred speed to highest chef inbred stamina.

Mares taken into consideration separately.

This analysis revolves around Flightline. Whether he runs completely inline with his current status or if he regresses off of his Pacific Classic performance. The higher probability is that he stays the course and demolishes this field, whereby all analysis falls to board-hit advantages/disadvantages. This affords you additional outside insight to add into your own handicapping.

Big race = Longer analysis!

OLYMPIAD Speightstown - Tokyo Time (Medaglia d'Oro)

Post: 7 M/L: 15-1

DP = 8-9-12-1-0 (30) DI = 3.29 CD = 0.80

Mare Profile = 9-3-5-2-8 Speed = 12 Stamina = 10 Index = 1.13 Triads = 17-10-15

Trainer: Bill Mott

ANZ Index: 3.86

Pros: 30 total points in his chefs profile which overtakes the horrendous mare's configurations. Chef dominant.

Cons: Tackled the 10f distance in the Gold Cup with a 74 early pace figure in 2nd position. This gave him the ability to reserve late strength and power, allowing him to persevere the entire 1-1/4 miles. That early pace figure is a joke in comparison to what will transpire on Saturday. Olympiad will likely see early pace figures resembling or surpassing his Whitney and Stephen Foster races, in which case, he dies down late even sooner. Those beautiful pace figures come from a 9f race and now he will have additional ground to cover.

Outlook: Since this guy likes it up front, he will be forced to keep up a pace resembling his previous two 9f races. With another furlong to tackle, his late projected pace is doomed. If he sits in a different position in order to reserve his energy, he will need to alter his winning ways and it still does him no good late at 10f. If Flightline was not in attendance, Olympiad would be able to run his race in his slow early manner and probably get away with it. In Flightline's Classic, he gets swallowed at the 9f to 9.5 mark.

RICH STRIKE Keen Ice - Gold Strike (Smart Strike)

Post: 8 M/L: 20-1

DP = 5-8-11-0-0 (24) DI = 3.36 CD = 0.75

Mare Profile = 7-1-6-9-7 Speed = 8 Stamina = 16 Index = 0.72 Triads = 14-16-22

Trainer: Eric Reed

ANZ Index: 3.36

Pros: Pace dependent on lead speed faltering against the top flight behind Flightline. If that second tier decides to try to keep up with Flightline in an attempt to actually win this race, Rich Strike is built to capitalize late.

Cons: If his annoying trainer attempted to alter his running style with the idea that he actually had a chance at the trophy here, that will backfire every time. Rich Strike is 101% pace dependent and must rely on the faults of his foes. This is not a contest of immature 3 year olds who do not know how to control their pace. This is the Breeders Cup Classic against highly accomplished and talented competitors. If he runs to his preferred style, he is doomed. If he was trained to try to keep up with the early pace of Flightline, he is doomed.

Outlook: If Reed would finally come down from the clouds and stop trying to make this horse into something he is not, he could actually have a fair shot at the board with this horse. If he could have 2nd place as the attainable goal and allow this horse to reserve enough energy to conquer that second tier without even thinking about Flightline, he would have a real shot at grabbing something in the end. To alter a horse's inbred attributes to match the specific conditions of a race is highly detrimental. Left to run the way the horse wants to run and content with a board hit in mind, this horse can absolutely crack that tote-board somewhere. Imagine if Epicenter, Taiba and Charlie all decided to try to keep pace with The Beast. Who would capitalize for second? An unaltered Rich Strike. But that won't happen because the 3 other trainers aren't on suicidal watch. He has capability to grab a minor piece if ridden correctly in a Flightline Classic.

LIFE IS GOOD Into Mischief - Beach Walk (Distorted Humor)

Post: 6 M/L: 5-1

DP = 1-2-3-0-0 (6) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.67

Mare Profile = 8-7-4-8-6 Speed = 15 Stamina = 14 Index = 1.13 Triads = 19-19-18

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

ANZ Index: 4.33

Pros: This guy is fast and consistent. Early pace ability will help keep him from getting too separated from Flightline in the early stages and the bias should help keep him there.

Cons: When calculated, his distance falls at 9.25f. That is not to say that he can't go 10f outright, but it does point to one who will subside on his energy with a very fast early pace. It took a good 3 months before he raced again after a plane ride to Dubai, but the rest did him well for the 7f and 9f tests. Now he's going 10f.

Outlook: Even though his distance capability seems lackluster through his breeding, there are many times when a speedy horse has hidden stamina and it boils down to looking at things in a different way. With only 6 points in his chefs numbers, his mares should be more influential. Looking at the mares profile, it is split (basically) evenly between his speed wing and stamina wing, disregarding the classic center. To date, it is obvious he has grabbed the left side, his speed is killer. But when LIG runs, he is consistent through his pace from gate to wire. He does not drastically subdue his pace when asked for lightning out of the gate (like Olympiad). Ridiculous Dubai race aside, Life is Good seems to be grabbing both sides of those mares evenly and this should enable him to go further than what is being calculated. Sometimes it is more in the configuration of the profile than mere mathematics. He has matching inheritance on both sides of the scale and he is excelling with that split. At face value, his numbers show one thing but after much work, they appear to be deceiving. It is always hard to judge additional hidden stamina in a speedy horse but the way he keeps his pace is giving some evidence that he can withstand. His last win on the sloppy surface holds no bearing, however, his August 6th race is major. Life is Good tore up that Saratoga deep and hard track in the Whitney and that right there tells us everything we need to know. His foe, Olympiad, has heightened inbred speed and could not handle that bias. Realistically, based on Life Is Good's configurations, he too should have had a hard time. But he didn't. He excelled. That is the stamina side shining through loud and clear. At 9f (a distance that is favorable to speed) he beat Charlie with that additional stamina power coupled with exceptional speed. This should put them both at an even playing field at 10f. Last week, I would have given him no chance at the distance, but after much work, it is there but hidden. The fact that Life is Good was able to perform so magnificently on that tragic bias is a testament to the balance from his mares. They are giving him the distance, now it is a matter of how fast Flightline takes his pace.

HOT ROD CHARLIE Oxbow - Indian Miss (Indian Charlie)

Post: 5 M/L: 15-1

DP = 1-4-5-0-0 (10) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.60

Mare Profile = 11-1-5-11-3 Speed = 12 Stamina = 14 Index = 1.27 Triads = 17-17-19

Trainer: Doug O'Neill

ANZ Index: 3.00

Pros: Evidence of exceptional early speed with the ability to put it on cruise control for a full 12f. Showed proof in ability to run exaggerated early pace figures while still holding onto his full endurance capability. Matched exact time of Epicenter's winning Travers race while coming in 4th on a very adverse bias for his breeding in last year's Classic. Jockey, Tyler Gaffalione, who was aboard Charlie in the BC Juvenile happily returns to the mount and stated that "(There's been) a couple years in between, getting on him, stepping on this year in the Lukas Classic— what a big, strong horse, he's really developed into a monster,"... He's just much bigger, stronger, more patient. He's all class." Doug O'Neill has been relentless with him at Keeneland for months in preparation for this race. Shows pure evidence that his speed is even stronger than his younger days and he always performs, never gives in, and tackles all distances.

Cons: He will want his position up front and he must duplicate his acceptance of an incredibly fast early pace like he did in the Belmont. If bold enough to stay on the outside of Flightline, eye to eye, the horse has never once backed down in a brawl but still, no match. If he competes against Olympiad and Life is Good for second, he stays course. He has much more inbred stamina than those two. Basically, if he stays goal-oriented for 2nd place, he has a great shot at staying there. But the goal in any race is to win it and that lofty dream against Flightline could actually turn into a disaster for him.

Outlook: Taking the perspective that Flightline demolishes this field with an unimpeded run, Charlie has the exact breeding and running style to persevere over the trailing leading speedsters, running at a pace that neither of his two opponents have ever been subjected to and nowhere near at this distance. Because of the wild fanfare for this race, spanning the globe, going for the shot with the better odds is more logical. Backing a horse who is actually built correctly for a dance with Flightline seems to make more sense than going with the fastest beyer figures with borderline stamina for less of a payout. If for some reason Gaffalione decides to try to stay with Flightline out front, Charlie would absolutely need that same exact power that he displayed in the Belmont last year. That is a tall order because conditions are never the same. If he concentrates on second place, he has everything he needs to endure this grueling two minute task.

HAPPY SAVER Super Saver - Happy Week (Distorted Humor

Post: 4 M/L: 30-1

DP = 3-5-8-0-0 (16) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.69

Mare Profile = 11-2-2-3-12 Speed = 13 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.90 Triads = 15-7-17

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

ANZ Index: 3.00

Pros: None for him. Clear attempt to gain additional moderate pace time for Life is Good out front.

Cons: Everything.

Outlook: The big question is, "Why would Todd Pletcher even enter him here? That answer has to be about Life is Good. So how does Happy Saver's presence aid Life Is Good? Good question! Does he float Flightline wide out of the gate since he is in post 3 and Flightline is in post 4? Possibly, but doubtful. Flightline should be at least 2 lengths ahead of him within a millisecond of those gates opening. No, I would guess it to be more likely an aid for second place against Epicenter. Happy Saver doesn't have a prayer in the world of beating Flightline, that's a given. He doesn't have a prayer against Epicenter either, or even this field for that matter. The biggest threat for second place on the field is Epicenter. If Happy Saver can utilize his early speed and position himself somewhere on the outside, he will go for the only target he has below the top tier - Epicenter. They tried to block Epicenter on the rail in the Travers with a sub-par horse at the distance and it will be a replay here. Worthless effort at some point, but it appears the only game plan that could possibly be on the table. These trainers know that they are up against it for a win and they are all concentrating on that second place purse. Happy Saver is a rabbit for Life is Good against the only target he has in the early stages of the race, Epicenter. Good luck with that.

FLIGHTLINE Tapit - Feathered (Indian Charlie)

Post: 3 M/L: 3-5

DP = 4-9-12-1-0 (26) DI = 2.71 CD = 0.62

Mare Profile = 11-2-5-4-7 Speed = 13 Stamina = 11 Index = 1.26 Triads = 18-11-16 (Tapit)

Trainer: John Sadler

ANZ Index: 3.00

Pros: He obviously has it all, no need to reiterate the power of this beast.

Cons: The number one obstacle for Flightline is the possibility of a regression off of his soaring win in the Pacific Classic. It is highly doubtful that would happen though and here's why. The "usual" players who dominate a race with an excessively speedy and over the top win are built with a dominance of speed and highly lack in stamina in their breeding. They are tipped in balance with too much inbred speed, and it takes its toll because they lack in stamina to continue to endure that stress. They are not built to repeat that type of performance over and over again. This is why speed demons have very short careers and cannot compete for too long on the track. They expend it all and regress. Just ask Baffert about that! Flightline is quite the opposite, holding first generation Tapit genes with that mid-range index. He has all the stamina he could wish for to continue performances in that manner. That is Belmont-worthy stamina and the type of horse who is built with a bit more longevity than the normal speed demon. Based on his chart and the configurations of his numbers, this horse will most likely stay in beast-mode for a long time to come, way after this race ends.

The next obstacle is the simple fact that he will have a target on his back, especially from the Baffert syndicate. I make no apologies for that statement and the sting of what he did to Shared Belief in the 2014 Classic (and also in the 2014 Pacific Classic) remains vivid. This white-haired buffoon will do anything necessary to win the big races, including drugging his speedsters to ensure endurance. Ironically, Taiba was installed in the last gate next to Rich Strike, which means the racing gods were in Flightline's corner this time. Be that as it may, he will still have a target on his back with hopes of giving him a race he has never been introduced to. Flightline has only looked into the eye of three horses in his entire career before shortly overpowering the front. But with only 8 competitors and his very favorable post, it would appear that he has this covered as well.

Outlook: No matter how hard you try to manipulate and finagle your way through those past performance sheets, Flightline is still going to demolish this crew. His early pace numbers are unmatched. He will affect those chasing him in the front tier. He will take over the lead when he feels like it and he has the stamina to keep his ferocious pace from gate to wire. This is Flightline's Classic and there is no way around it. It would take the Devil himself rising from hell to cast a shadow over this horse. Single him, forget about him, and handicap under him.

TAIBA Gun Runner - Needmore Flattery (Flatter)

Post: 9 M/L: 8-1

DP = 2-2-8-0-0 (12) DI = 2.00 CD = 0.50

Mare Profile = 5-3-6-8-8 Speed = 8 Stamina = 16 Index = 0.63 Triads = 14-17-22

Trainer: Bob Baffert

ANZ Index: 2.50

Pros: Has grown and matured to match the heftier Candy Ride descendants which they usually do after the summer. Has shown his allegiance to speed capability with training on the speed bias of Santa Anita. Has the inbred stamina for the distance. Baffert always has a way of interjecting himself on that tote board in the big races, no matter what he needs to do to get there.

Cons: Taiba does not want a very fast pace in the early stages of his races, especially at 10f. If he goes to the front like he did in the PA Derby and the Haskell, he will have no choice but to flip his pace figures. If he sits off of the front tier in an attempt to reserve energy, he will be competing at full throttle with Charlie and Epicenter at 9.5f mark attempting to overtake Olympiad and Life is Good. His speed will be tested with the additional distance on a different bias, which is something he has never done.

Outlook: There is no question in Taiba's ability to conquer this distance with the numbers and his chart. Candy Ride offspring get better and better month over month when everything combines - both the high speed ability with the obvious inbred stamina that he has in him. This guy is used to dwindling lead speed and takes advantage of pace breakdowns. Flightline is not Forbidden Kingdom, that's for sure. His real opponent is Epicenter and so far he has not been on that level on a fair fast track. His "normal" running style is stalking close to the leader. In this race, is the true leader Flightline in Baffert's eyes, or is it the leading second tier below Flightline? If Baffert has him stalk Flightline, we will see a repeat of his Derby performance. Taiba does not want to run that fast early, especially at 10f. If he stalks Life is Good and Olympiad lengths behind Flightline in the 2nd tier, he then become pace dependent on both of them. Do LIG and Olympiad fly behind Flightline in an actual attempt to keep up with him? If so, Taiba falls victim again. It is impossible to know how Baffert wants to handle this major dilemma and it sure is impossible to know if Taiba had some spiked hay or smeared Salon-Pas residue on his teeth, so handicapping on Taiba is basically a crap-shoot. He has to be used somewhere because it is impossible to handicap any of Baffert's charges in normal fashion.

EPICENTER Not This Time - Silent Candy (Candy Ride)

Post: 2 M/L: 6-1

DP = 0-0-9-1-2 (12) DI = 0.60 CD = -0.42

Mare Profile = 1-10-5-8-5 Speed = 11 Stamina = 13 Index = 0.74 Triads = 16-23-18

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

ANZ Index: 1.13

Pros: The breeding is number one. He is built incredibly for this race at this track. He is not pace dependent and can maneuver from below mid-pack to up front and forward which allows greater adaptability to Flightline's pace. Most colts will have one running style which does not always coincide with what is happening on that track. There is no worry about that when it comes to Epicenter. His late figures are deceiving because most races, Epicenter is geared down to the wire. There will be no gearing down here. This guy has the highest amount of inbred stamina (with Tapit's Flightline) on the field and his outward speed ability is still competitive with those up top. His balance is unmatched on this field.

Cons: The only thing that is worrisome is the ride that he will get from Rosario based on Baffert's entry. Rosario has a very strong allegiance to the other side and the absolute mess he made in the Preakness looked very shady and obvious. It appeared that he only moved on Epicenter when it was apparent that Armagnac was going to back-pedal off the lead spot at the far turn. Epicenter did eventually pass Early Voting, but it was just after the wire because Rosario sat and waited to see if Armagnac could go the distance on the lead. That cost Epicenter his win. With Taiba entered, one never knows to which side Rosario will stay loyal to. I just call them as I see them. Rosario must give Epicenter his ride, the way the horse wants to run.

Outlook: With all assumptions that Rosario guides this horse properly, and gauges the lightning speed of Flightline early, in the same manner that he did in the Kentucky Derby, Epicenter should do us all proud down that stretch. He will provide no shame in his defeat behind the #1 Horse in the World and he should triumph over his other peers because of his impeccable ability to morph his running style to match what is presented to him. There is no other horse on the field that can turn his style on a dime and still perform with the determination that he shows in that stretch every time. He is highly built for this race but he has a Behemoth Freak to compete against and whether or not he attempts to win or if he decides that second is good enough, he will still be able to conquer the stretch at this distance with ease.


There are several betting strategies to go with. You can single Flightline, in which case, you need to go the bear minimum with the trifecta in order to see any profit, minimal or not. You can attach him with another in hopes of an upset if you think there is a possibility he regresses from the Pacific Classic. You can also attach your superfecta bet underneath the single of Flightline, going for the Super High Five.

If you bet straight across with the favorites, keep in mind, 90% of the bettors will be doing the same. That pool will be split eight ways to Sunday. To make it interesting and worthwhile, I'm quite content with backing Charlie for a board hit with his potentially great odds over the lead speed tier. The main thing, keep cost at the bare minimum per every $1.00 ticket for profit.

UPDATED at 2pm today....

Trifecta: $9.00 per every $1.00 ticket

  1. Flightline

  2. Epicenter, Life is Good, Hot Rod Charlie

  3. Epicenter, Life is Good, Hot Rod Charlie, Taiba


  1. Flightline

  2. Epicenter, Hot Rod Charlie, Rich Strike

  3. Epicenter, Hot Rod Charlie, Rich Strike

Superfecta: $18.00 per every $1.00 ticket

  1. Flightline

  2. Epicenter, Hot Rod Charlie, Life Is Good

  3. Epicenter, Hot Rod Charlie, Life is Good

  4. Epicenter, Hot Rod Charlie, Life is Good, Taiba, Rich Strike

Or: Superfecta with Boxed Underneath - $24.00 per every $0.50 ticket

  1. Flightline

  2. Epicenter, Hot Rod Charlie, Taiba, Life is Good

  3. Epicenter, Hot Rod Charlie, Taiba, Life is Good, Rich Strike

  4. Epicenter, Hot Rod Charlie, Taiba, Life is Good, Rich Strike

Super High Five: 18.00 per every $1.00 ticket

  1. Flightline

  2. Epicenter, Life is Good

  3. Epicenter, Life is Good

  4. Hot Rod Charlie, Taiba, Rich Strike

  5. Hot Rod Charlie, Taiba, Rich Strike, Olympiad

Super Boxed - just in case: 24.00 per every $1.00 ticket

Flightline - Epicenter - Hot Rod Charlie - Life is Good


Flightline, Epicenter, Hot Rod Charlie, Rich Strike

And just in case, based on how the track is playing, it may be wise to throw Rich Strike in there for good measure. Possibly even thinking about a few .10 supers played multiple times with Rich Strike, just to back the bet. The track is not being kind to speed and as we saw in the Kentucky Derby, a late surge of power may be key as opposed to front speed.


bottom of page