Yesterday, 50,000 fans packed Saratoga Race Course to watch Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. The rest of the card was just for show. Outside of the handicappers, most people couldn’t tell you one thing about the rest of the card. But just shy of 45 minutes before the Travers, a globetrotter showed up. Juddmonte has owned some of the greatest race horses in history, Frankel, Dancing Brave, Twice Over, Warning, Danehill, Rail Link, Ryafan, Cacique, Empire Maker, Seek Again, Cityscape, and numerous others. And that is just the horses that I found with a once over of their Wikipedia page. One horse not in that conversation, Flintshire. Looking at a piece of paper that shows what races he has won, very unimpressive. For a horse that has raced 16 times with only 4 wins and only one win since July of 2013, what is there to like about him? How about his 8 seconds? Or his multiple runner up finishes to the world’s best horse, Treve? Or maybe how he has races in 5 different countries? Or how his pedigree is top class? Flintshire just doesn’t like to win… well rather he likes a firm ground and going right handed. Sorry buddy, you won’t be getting both of those conditions anywhere I know. But at least he got the firm ground he has been looking for.
Yesterday in the Sword Dancer, Flintshire finally showed up. After finished second or third in each of his previous four starts this year, it looked as if this son of Dansili just doesn’t want to get his head in front. And when you are facing Treve, you have to be able to have some confidence on the track. Flintshire set back in his usual midpack style and just waited. Pretty quick fractions were set and as they hit the backstretch heading for the turn, they were moving. And then Flintshire got moving. Off the turn he was in front and never looked back, cruising to a 3 length win in the second fastest Sword Dancer in history. Finally getting to the winners circle, he booked his spot in the Breeders Cup Turf at Keeneland, a track he will like a lot more than Santa Anita.
Unlike most turf horses throughout the world, Flintshire doesn’t take too many breaks. Once Andre Fabre brings Flintshire to the track for the first time each year, he keeps taking places to show off his horse. Flintshire is currently expected to make two more starts before the Breeders Cup Turf, the Prix Foy and the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe, both races he finished second in last year. He then will probably make a trip to Sha Tin and defend his Hong Kong Vase title. And he is coming out in great form. And as a plus, he earned a 112 Beyer Speed Figure yesterday, better than any turf horse racing in the US currently.
Even though fans watched American Pharoah go down late to Keen Ice, another champion rose up in a spectacular performance. The fans were given a treat on that day, watching a monster win by one of the top horses in the world.