2022 BREEDERS’ CUP REFLECTIONS

The weather in Lexington cooperated and Flightline put on a performance for the ages in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland.  Life is Good led until the stretch and showed just how game he is, setting blistering fractions of 22.55 seconds for the first quarter mile and 109.62 for six furlongs. However, in the end, Flightline was so dominant that the rest of the field looked like $5,000 claimers.  The official chart read that Flightline was “in hand during the final stages,” indicating that he could have finished faster than the 2:00.05 recorded for the 1 1/4 miles.

Irad Ortiz, Life is Good’s jockey, described his thoughts during the race: “I felt him [Flightline] every step of the way, just tried to get away from him and couldn’t. I know I’m going fast and said let me look again down the backside and he’s there. I said ‘Oh my God.’ Then he goes by me like nothing. He’s an unbelievable horse.”

Two days after the Breeders’ Cup Classic, a 2.5% share in Flightline was sold at the Keeneland Breeding Stock Sale for $4.6 million.  While some people said this auction price gives Flightline an imputed current value of $184 million, that is almost certainly flawed reasoning. A more defensible assumption is that the person who spent $4.6 million for a 2.5% share vastly overpaid and therefore Flightline would not bring close to $184 million if he were to be sold privately or at auction.

The 80-1 winner of the Kentucky Derby, Rich Strike, finished fourth, which earned a purse of $300,000.  Not bad at all for a former $30,000 claim.

European-trained horses prevailed in the turf races, with Coolmore and Godolphin winning three races each.  One of the television announcers correctly commented that the winners were not the best horses in the Coolmore and Godolphin arsenals. They were back home in Europe.

All-sources handle for the two-day Breeders’ Cup cards set records.  The total bet was almost $190 million, a 3.4% increase over the previous record set in 2021 at Del Mar.  The ten races on Friday had all-sources wagering of over $66 million—a 7% increase over 2021—and the twelve-race card on Saturday attracted handle of nearly $123 million—compared to $121.5 million in 2021.

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