Flightline a heavy favorite in 2022 Breeders’ Cup Classic odds

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John Sadler’s Flightline opens as the unsurprising 3-5 favorite to lead the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Classic odds at Keeneland Race Course on Saturday, Nov. 5. He will start from the No. 4 spot. Post time for the Breeders’ Cup Classic is set for approximately 5:40 p.m. ET.

Flightline has been untouchable, winning all five of his races by a combined margin of 62 ¾ lengths. Two stalls away is Steve Asmussen-trainee Epicenter (5-1), whose consistent pace may be the best horse to challenge the undefeated colt. The Westwind Farms-bred colt has finished no worse than second in its last seven graded stakes, including two straight wins in Saratoga.

Another contender to hand Flightline his first loss is Life is Good (6-1) who is coming back to the Breeders’ Cup where he won the Dirt Mile in 2021. In his last five races, he has claimed victory in four, including the last three graded stakes.

Bob Baffert is also back at the Breeders’ Cup with Taiba (8-1) starting in the first position. After finishing 12th at the Kentucky Derby, Taiba has jumped back into the national spotlight with a strong finish in the Haskell Stakes and a win in the Pennsylvania Derby.

Joining them in the field is fan favorite and Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike (20-1), who will start in the No. 8 stall. The three-year-old just barely missed out on winning the Lukas Classic Stakes and is in a familiar position as the underdog.

Starting next to Flightline in the fifth stall is Doug O’Neill’s popular colt, Hot Rod Charlie (15-1), who won the 2022 Lukas Classic Stakes and will be looking to improve on his fourth-place finish in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Olympiad (10-1) had his graded stakes win streak broken at four races with a fourth-place finish at the Whitney Stakes in Saratoga, but he recovered to win the Jockey Club Gold Cup a month later. And if you want a long shot to root for, look no further than Todd Pletcher’s second horse in the Classic, Happy Saver (30-1), who finished fourth in the Lukas Classic Stakes but finished second in five straight graded stakes before that.

Related: 2022 Breeders’ Cup TV schedule

NBC Sports is home to the 2022 Breeders’ Cup, providing comprehensive race coverage and analysis live on TV, Peacock, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app before, during and after. Coverage kicks off with Future Stars Friday on November 4, from 2-6 p.m. on USA Network, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. NBC Sports will resume coverage the following day on USA Network, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app beginning at 1:00 p.m., with the broadcast jumping to NBC and Peacock from 3:30-6 p.m.

Related: What to know about the 2022 Breeders’ Cup

2022 Breeders’ Cup Classic odds and post positions

As of Wednesday, November 2nd

1. Taiba (8-1)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Mike Smith

2. Life is Good (6-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

3. Happy Saver (30-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John R. Velazquez

4. Flightline (3-5)
Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Flavien Prat

5. Hot Rod Charlie (15-1)
Trainer: Doug O’Neill
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

6. Epicenter (5-1)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Joel Rosario

8. Olympiad (10-1)
Trainer: Bill Mott
Jockey: Junior Alvarado

9. Rich Strike (20-1)
Trainer: Eric Reed
Jockey: Sonny Leon

Appeals court strikes down federal horseracing rules act

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NEW ORLEANS — Congress unconstitutionally gave too much power to a nonprofit authority it created in 2020 to develop and enforce horseracing rules, a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled Friday.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, or HISA, is “facially unconstitutional.”

The authority created by the act was meant to bring uniform policies and enforcement to horseracing amid doping scandals and racetrack horse deaths. But the 5th Circuit – in two rulings issued Friday – ruled in favor of opponents of the act in lawsuits brought by horseracing associations and state officials in Texas, Louisiana and West Virginia.

The Federal Trade Commission has the ultimate authority to approve or reject HISA regulations, but it can’t modify them. And the authority can reject proposed modifications.

Three 5th Circuit judges agreed with opponents of the act – including the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and similar groups in multiple states – that the setup gave too much power to the nongovernmental authority and too little to the FTC.

“A cardinal constitutional principle is that federal power can be wielded only by the federal government. Private entities may do so only if they are subordinate to an agency,” Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan wrote for the panel that ruled in the Texas case.

The same panel, which also included judges Carolyn Dineen King and Kurt Engelhardt, cited the Texas ruling in a separate order in favor of horseracing interests and regulators challenging HISA in a different case.

The chair of the horseracing authority’s board of directors said it would ask for further court review. Friday’s ruling could be appealed to the full 5th Circuit court of the Supreme Court.

“If today’s ruling were to stand, it would not go into effect until January 10, 2023 at the earliest,” Charles Scheeler said in an email. “We are focused on continuing our critical work to protect the safety and integrity of Thoroughbred racing, including the launch of HISA’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program on January 1, 2023.”

The ruling was criticized by Marty Irby, executive director of the Animal Wellness Action organization. “Over the course of three Congresses, the most brilliant legal minds on Capitol Hill addressed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act’s constitutionality and ultimately decided that the Federal Trade Commission’s limited oversight was sufficient,” Irby said in an email.

Among the subjects covered by the authority’s rules and enforcement were jockey safety (including a national concussion protocol), the riding crop and how often riders can use it during a race, racetrack accreditation, and the reporting of training and veterinary records.

Animal rights groups, who supported the law, pointed to scandals in the industry involving medication and the treatment of horses.

Duncan wrote that in declaring HISA unconstitutional, “we do not question Congress’s judgment about problems in the horseracing industry. That political call falls outside our lane.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, hailed the ruling on Twitter, calling HISA a “federal takeover of Louisiana horse racing.”

Fractional interest in Flightline sells for $4.6 million

flightline horse
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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Keeneland says a 2.5% fractional interest in Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Flightline has sold for $4.6 million during a special auction before the start of its November Breeding Stock Sale.

Brookdale Farm’s Freddy Seitz signed the ticket for an undisclosed client, the track announced in a release. The sale comes a day after ownership of the 4-year-old son of Tapit retired the unbeaten colt following his record 8\-length victory in Saturday’s $6 million, Grade 1 Classic at Keeneland. Flightline likely locked up Horse of the Year honors with his fourth Grade 1 victory in six starts by a combined victory margin of 71 lengths – dominance that has drawn comparisons to legendary Triple Crown champion Secretariat.

Flightline will begin his breeding career next year at Lane’s End Farms in Versailles, Kentucky, but a stud fee has yet to be determined. West Point Thoroughbreds, part of the bay colt’s ownership, offered the fractional interest. Seitz said the buyer wanted to “make a big splash” and get more involved in the business.

“With a special horse like (Flightline) all you can do is get involved and then just hope for the best,” Seitz said in the release.

“There has never been a horse that has done what he has done for however many years, back to Secretariat. You just have to pay up and get involved, and this is kind of what he’s thinking.”