The Kentucky track of Keeneland took its turn to stage the Breeders’ Cup meeting in 2022, with eight runners lining up in the signature event – most of whom were thoroughly proven at the highest level. Epicenter arrived on the back of an impressive win in the Travers Stakes and Rich Strike landed the Kentucky Derby earlier in the year. Life Is Good had swelled the coffers of connections with a win in the hugely valuable Pegasus World Cup, whilst Pennsylvania Derby winner, Taiba, was possibly the runner most open to improvement in the field.
Despite the impressive form of the aforementioned contenders, the build-up to the race was all about just one horse: John Sadler’s unbeaten son of Tapit, Flightline, who had posted a series of monstrous displays in the lead-up to the race. Having slammed Dubai World Cup winner Country Grammar by a resounding 19 and a half lengths in the Pacific Classic Stakes, the four-year-old was drawing comparisons with the mighty Secretariat and had surged to the head of the global racecourse rankings.
- 1st – Flightline 4/9F, Jockey: Flavien Prat, Trainer: John Sadler
- 2nd – Olympiad 10/1, Jockey: Junior Alvarado, Trainer: William Mott
- 3rd – Taiba 33/4, Jockey: Mike Smith, Trainer: Bob Baffert
Prize Money Breakdown
- 1st – £2,311,111.11
- 2nd – £755,555.56
- 3rd – £400,000
- 4th – £222,222.22
- 5th – £133,333.33
- 6th – £88,888.89
- 7th – £44,444.44
Tote and Forecast Payouts
- Tote Win – $2.88
- Tote Places – 1st – $2.30, 2nd – $7.16, 3rd – $4.00
- Exacta – $17.87
- Trifecta – $83.26
Flightline broke better than had often been the case in his previous outings, moving up to the head of affairs but being restrained by Flavien Prat to track in behind Life Is Good, who quickly set out to ensure this was a thorough test. So quick was the early pace, that there were already around 10 lengths between first and last by the time they reached the first bend.
Into the backstretch, and Life Is Good continued to pour it on, with Flightline travelling comfortably on his outside and a five-length gap back to the rest of the field. Into the turn for home, that gap had grown to nine lengths, with Taiba and Hot Rod Charlie getting to work in an effort to close.
Into the home straight, those early fractions took a toll on Life Is Good. Flightline, on the other hand, was cantering, with Flavien Prat looking over his shoulder for non-existent dangers. Asked to go and win the race, the response was immediate, as his mount pulled eight lengths clear at the line, with Life Is Good giving best to the closing Olympiad and Taiba for the placed positions.
It was a jaw-dropping display from the winner, who was promptly retired to stud. A second win in the race for John Sadler following the 2018 success of Accelerate, and a first Classic victory for Flavien Prat.
- 1. Taiba – SP: 33/4, Trainer: Bob Baffert, Jockey: Mike Smith
- 2. Life Is Good – SP: 44/5, Trainer: Todd Pletcher, Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
- 3. Happy Saver – SP: 49/1, Trainer: Todd Pletcher, Jockey: John Velazquez
- 4. Flightline – SP: 4/9F, Trainer: John Sadler, Jockey: Flavien Prat
- 5. Hot Rod Charlie – SP: 17/1, Trainer: Doug O’Neill, Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
- 6. Epicenter – SP: 123/20, Trainer: Steve Asmussen, Jockey: Joel Rosario
- 7. Olympiad – SP: 269/10, Trainer: William Mott, Jockey: Junior Alvarado
- 8. Rich Strike – SP: 246/10, Trainer: Eric Reed, Jockey: Sonny Leon