Barn Tour: Sadler on Flightline, Edgeway, Tripoli and more

Barn Tour: Sadler on Flightline, Edgeway, Tripoli and more
Photo: Benoit
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Trainer John Sadler will look to get off to a fast start at the Santa Anita winter-spring meet this weekend with four horses entered on Sunday’s opening-day program, including budding star Flightline in the Malibu (G1) and Livingmybestlife in the La Brea (G1), plus one more on Monday. At the last Santa Anita winter-spring meet, which ended in mid-June, Sadler won at a 19 percent clip to rank sixth in the trainer standings in both number of wins (32) and purse earnings ($1,968,586). For the year, the 65-year-old trainer ranks 22nd nationally in earnings with $5,976,025 while hitting at a 20 percent clip (132 for 407).

Horse Racing Nation caught up with Sadler ahead of the curtain-lifter at Santa Anita for a look at what is ahead.

Flightline. It’s been many moons in Southern California since a stakes debut has drawn as much anticipation as this colt’s in the Malibu. Such things happen when you win your first two starts by a combined 25 lengths and equal the best Beyer Speed Figure of the year (114).

A 3-year-old colt by Tapit, Flightline commanded $1 million at auction as a yearling. He debuted April 24 at Santa Anita and rolled by 13 lengths, then followed with a 12-length romp against allowance foes on Sept. 5 at Del Mar.


Now, Flightline barrels straight into Grade 1 skies. Despite the oversized expectations, Sadler said he has not felt more pressure or added nerves heading into Sunday.

“We’re excited because he’s shown so much promise and the plan is coming together. But I don’t feel overly stressed,” Sadler said. “I feel like his work has been good leading up to this and he’s ready to go. I just can’t wait to get him in there.”


Flightline drew post 5 in a seven-horse field set for the seven-furlong Malibu. He will have regular rider Flavien Prat in the irons.

“We definitely got a good draw,” Sadler said. “I don’t think the draw would necessarily bother him that much one way or the other because he has so much speed. But you do hate to draw the 1 or 2 and be down inside where you can get knocked sideways or something. So that’s a big plus.”

Being an elongated sprint, seven furlongs can be tricky distance for some horses, especially those that are lightly raced such as Flightline. Sadler does not see that as being a major obstacle.

“We think this should be a good distance for him. He’s obviously got a ton of speed, but yet he’s still a horse that could easily lay second,” Sadler said. “The tactics will be dictated by Prat.”

Flightline is campaigned by West Point Thoroughbreds and Hronis Racing.

Livingmybestlife. Two races before Flightine’s on Sunday, Sadler will send out this gal for her graded-stakes debut in the $300,000 La Brea for 3-year-old fillies going seven furlongs.

Red-tagged out of a $50,000 maiden-claimer at Oaklawn in April, the daughter of The Big Beast has won four of six starts. These include the overnight Lucky Spell Stakes at Los Alamitos in late September and the restricted Seashell Stakes going a flat mile at Del Mar last time out on Nov. 3.

“She’s a hard-trying filly, and she’s shown that since day one,” Sadler said. “When we claimed her towards the end of the Oaklawn meet, we brought her back two weeks later and she beat a nice maiden special weight field there. And those are hundred-thousand maiden races, so she was paid for in her first race.”

The confirmed front-runner has continued to show steady progress for Sadler, but now she gets a major class test.

“She doesn’t have any conditions left, so this is the next logical step,” Sadler said. “Being that she’s a stakes winner twice, now it’s let’s go get some graded-stakes placings or a win. But she’s really doing well.”

Sadler also likes the idea of Livingmybestlife, who will break from the far outside in post 7 under Juan Hernandez, cutting back to seven furlongs from a two-turn mile.

“I think it’s ideal,” Sadler said. “We had more questions last time about whether she could get a mile being by The Big Beast and everything. But she did get the mile and I think seven (furlongs) should be a good distance for her.  She has a lot of speed and she also got a great draw to the outside.” Elector. The 3-year-old Constitution colt is set to make his debut in Sunday’s fourth race at Santa Anita, a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight on the main track that drew a field of seven.

Elector first arrived at Sadler’s barn in spring 2020, but after a series of works was sent back to the farm for further development. He returned to Santa Anita last winter and it was much the same – a series of works followed by a trip back to the farm. Finally, Elector returned in late October and has worked seven times for his bow.

“I got him early on, but you know we had to stop and start with him a couple times,” Sadler said. “But he’s always shown a great deal of run. He’s quick. So we’re anxious to get him started. Although I did look at the race a little bit, and it came up very strong.”

It certainly does appear a difficult spot for Elector. Among the field is a pair of first-time starters for Bob Baffert: Hopkins, a $900,000 auction purchase by Quality Road; and Shaaz, a $1.1 million auction buy by Uncle Mo. Also entered are first-time starter Q B One, the first foal out of champion Beholder; and Patron d’Oro, a $300,000 auction purchase for trainer Brian Kornier, who was third against straight-maidens at Santa Anita in April while registering a race-high 89 Brisnet Speed Rating.

Elector and Prat and will break from post 5.

“He’s plenty ready, and Prat’s been on him a couple of times. So same thing, let’s get him going on opening day,” Sadler said.

Edgeway. The 4-year-old filly emerged as one of the top female sprinters in the country this season with stakes wins in the Carousel at Oaklawn and Rancho Bernardo (G3) at Del Mar before finishing second to Ce Ce in last month’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.

Edgeway has been back working steadily at Santa Anita with an eye on the $75,000 Kalookan Queen a week from Sunday, which is the only open stakes on dirt for older female sprinters at Santa Anita until the Santa Monica (G2) on Feb. 5.

“I think we’re going to run her in the Kalookan Queen overnight stakes,” Sadler said. “She’s doing really well. She’s had a couple of good works and she’ll work once more this weekend, weather permitting.

“We could take her to Oaklawn at any time, but we’ll look at that later,” Sadler added. "For now, we’ll get one at home in our own backyard.”

By Competitive Edge, Edgeway sports a record of 9: 5-2-1 with earnings of $549,200.

Tripoli. This year’s Pacific Classic (G1) winner exited his seventh-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic with a minor injury and will be sidelined until early 2022, Sadler said.

“He had a little chip come out of his knee after the Breeders’ Cup,” Sadler noted. “So he’s back on the farm and we’ll get him back in the spring some time.”

Tripoli emerged as one of Southern California’s top handicap horses after being switched to dirt this sumner. The 4-year-old colt by Kitten’s Joy beat allowance foes the first time on the main track and came back to be second in the San Diego (G2) before winning the Pacific Classic and then checking in fourth in the Awesome Again (G1) in his final Breeders’ Cup prep.

Big Switch. The 2-year-old California-bred is headed to the Kentucky Oaks trail after a debut win in August and a victory in the Golden State Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 5, both at Del Mar.

“We’re looking at the Santa Ynez for her,” Sadler said of the Kentucky Oaks prep, a $200,000 Grade 2 going seven furlongs on Jan. 8. “We’ll take her out and run her against open (company).”

Park Avenue. After taking four starts to find her best stride, the 3-year-old filly by Quality Road earned her diploma at Santa Anita on Oct. 29 and came back to romp by 5 1/2 lengths when breaking from post 11 in a one-mile allowance at Los Alamitos Dec. 12.

She’s a good one,” Sadler said. “We’ll take her through her conditions and you know, take her up the ladder. But we really like her. That was kind of a crazy race the other day, she had an unwinnable post at Los Alamitos and won anyway, easily. So that was a big win.”

Also owned by Hronis Racing, Park Avenue was a $450,000 auction purchase as a yearling.

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