June 12, 2024

Flightline’s half-brother, Eagles Flight, wins handsomely on debut

Eagles Flight impressed in his career debut at Santa Anita
Eagles Flight impressed in his career debut at Santa Anita (Photo by Benoit Photos)

The Hollywood Gold Cup (G2) was the featured dirt race on Santa Anita’s Memorial Day card, but an earlier maiden captured the imagination. Eagles Flight, a Curlin half-brother to undefeated 2022 Horse of the Year Flightline, made a sparkling career debut in the eighth race.

Sharing several connections with Flightline, Eagles Flight is co-owned by breeder Jane Lyon’s Summer Wind Equine, Hronis Racing, and W.S. Farish; trained by John Sadler; and ridden by Flavien Prat, whose confidence in the colt was evident throughout the six-furlong maiden.

Eagles Flight garnered 11-10 favoritism, but it wasn’t a case of nepotism. The three-year-old had been firing bullets in his recent workouts, and he backed it up here.

Although Eagles Flight didn’t win by the gaudy margin of Flightline in his unveiling over the same track and trip in 2021, he showed abundant potential despite a couple rookie mistakes. He broke inward from post 2 and started to lug in before Prat corrected him. Then he settled kindly several lengths behind a fast opening quarter in :21.96.

On the far turn, Eagles Flight advanced behind a wall of horses, smoothly navigated amid traffic, and took aim at the leader Santarena swinging into the stretch. Again his inexperience was visible as Prat had to get him organized. But as soon as he was straightened up, Eagles Flight gained momentum and surged past Santarena.

Stamping his authority by 2 3/4 lengths, Eagles Flight clocked 1:10.07. The bay kept rolling on the gallop-out to enhance the visual impression. Santarena, the 2.10-1 second choice, drew 5 1/2 lengths clear of third.

Eagles Flight opened his account with a $32,400 deposit. If Sadler follows a game plan similar to Flightline’s, he’ll methodically progress to an allowance next.

Out of the Indian Charlie mare Feathered, who was a Grade 3 winner and multiple Grade 1-placed performer herself, Eagles Flight hails from a stellar family cultivated by the Phipps Stable. The Kentucky-bred’s second and third dams, Finder’s Fee and Fantastic Find, respectively, were both Grade 1 heroines.

Fourth dam Blitey, a multiple Grade 2-winning daughter of champion Lady Pitt, is responsible for Grade 1 stars Dancing Spree and Furlough. Blitey is also the ancestress of Hall of Famer and noted producer Heavenly Prize.