Malathaat and Flightline finished their careers in style at the Breeders’ Cup that led to their crowning as the most-talented older female and male in North America.
A star every step of the way, Malathaat hails from Barbara Banke’s stellar Stonestreet program out of a second-generation Grade I winner by a two-time Horse of the Year turned elite sire. In a feat for the ages, Stonestreet bred all three finalists in this division, while Godolphin did the same in the male turf division. Malathaat brought seven figures as a yearling, was an undefeated ‘TDN Rising Star‘ and graded stakes winner at two, and a GI Kentucky Oaks-winning Eclipse champion as a sophomore. What could possibly put icing on the cake except a repeat championship at four?
Malathaat delivered although it may have seemed like a longshot for the first half of the year. She opened her 4-year-old campaign with a hard-fought win as the 1-5 choice in Keeneland’s GIII Baird Doubledogdare S. after hanging on her wrong lead, then dropped back-to-back decisions in New York against fellow Stonestreet-bred, Curlin-sired, and Eclipse older female contender Clairiere in the GI Ogden Phipps S. and the GII Shuvee S. Her connections didn’t panic, however, and Malathaat rewarded them with peak performances in three consecutive Grade Is to close out the year. Saratoga’s Personal Ensign must have been a relief to her team as she returned to top form, but Keeneland’s Spinster was a coronation as she ran away from the field by a lopsided five lengths. Only one jewel to complete her crown remained with a showdown looming in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff against the top mares in the country. It doesn’t get more thrilling, either: seven Grade I winners, a pulsating blanket finish, and a photo that showed Malathaat’s nose made it first across the wire. It was a fitting finale that helped lock up this second Eclipse for the elegant bay.
Malathaat was retired to Shadwell soon after the Distaff and will be bred to four-time leading sire Into Mischief.
“So much has been written about her, what is left to say? She is stunning. She has been a Grade A physical from birth. Barbara is a commercial breeder and will offer a good mix of colts and fillies for sale each year.” –John Moynihan, Stonestreet’s bloodstock advisor
We may never see another one quite like him again.
The unbeaten ‘TDN Rising Star’ ran to his unworldly reputation and then some by concluding his six-for-six career with a spectacular 8 1/4-length victory in the $6-million GI Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland. Hailing from a prolific Phipps family, a 2.5% fractional interest in Flightline sold for $4.6 million prior to the start of Keeneland’s November Sale just two days later.
Campaigned in partnership by the all-star line-up of Hronis Racing, Siena Farm, breeder Summer Wind Equine, West Point Thoroughbreds and Woodford Racing, the $1-million Fasig Tipton Saratoga yearling’s brilliant, albeit abbreviated 2022 campaign, also featured a jaw-dropping victory following a troubled trip in his seasonal debut in Belmont’s GI Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan H. June 11 and a record-setting 19 1/4-length romp while making his two-turn bow in the GI TVG Pacific Classic S. at Del Mar Sept. 3. The latter earned him a career-high 126 Beyer Speed Figure and a negative 8 1/2 from Thoro-Graph, the fastest number the latter has ever given.
“This is one of the greatest horses of all time,” trainer John Sadler said.
Flightline, a winner of all six of his career starts by a combined margin of 71 lengths, will now begin his career at stud at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky. He will command a stud fee of $200,000.
“We all thought we had a special talent before he even ran.”
–co-owner West Point’s Terry Finley
“The fact that I bred him almost doesn’t come into my mind. I don’t take credit for any of that because I think a horse like this is a gift.” -breeder Jane Lyon
“The first day that I sat on him, I thought, ‘Wow, what an amazing animal.’ Just the way he moves is so different from other horses. And I’ve been at this for quite a while now, so I draw from experience of being on some good horses in the past. And he was just something that I had never experienced.” —Juan Leyva, exercise rider and assistant trainer to John Sadler
“When he first came in, he was such an impressive-looking horse. He was already 16 hands. When we started the breaking process, it crossed my mind that maybe he had already been started because he was so quiet. Everything he did was easy. He came like a ready-made horse. There was no learning curve with him because he already knew it all somehow.”
—Mayberry Farm’s April Mayberry
“Lane’s End handles a lot of the sales for Jane Lyon out at Summer Wind. We went out shortly after some of her yearlings turned a year old, in February or March of their yearling year, and they were showing us a chestnut Tapit colt out of American Pharoah‘s dam who turned out to be Triple Tap. And there was a chestnut [Triple Tap] and a bay [Flightline], and I kept looking at the bay, and they said you need to look at the chestnut, because the bay is the one she’s thinking about keeping. We went back a few times through the spring, and the bay one was the one I always liked.”
–bloodstock agent David Ingordo
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