Flightline (Tapit) showed he was quick from the start with his 13 1/4 long “TDN Rising Star” worthy debut, but he proved his elite talent status in his last stunning performance when he threaded the cruise control in the GI Runhappy Malibu S., gaining 11 ½ lengths and gaining a 118 Beyer speed figure.
The impressive colt owner group of Hronis Racing, Siena Farm, Summer Wind Equine, West Point Thoroughbreds and Woodford Racing have undoubtedly spent much of this New Year celebrating their star’s unforgettable second season while awaiting his next departure.
Meanwhile, another of Flightline’s connections is also eagerly awaiting what the colt could accomplish in 2022 while recalling the impact he had during his short time with her.
April Mayberry, whose Mayberry Farm broke up and trained Tapit’s son, proudly watched Flightline show off the extraordinary talent she always thought he could have.
“It gives me chills to watch it,” Mayberry said. “To think that you were one of the first people to think that this ability was there and then to see it come true is a really cool feeling.”
Flightline arrived at Mayberry Farm in 2019 after selling to West Point Thoroughbreds for $ 1 million in the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale.
“When he first came along he was such an impressive horse,” Mayberry recalls. “He already had 16 hands. When we started the process of breaking up it occurred to me that maybe he had already started because he was so quiet. Everything he did was easy. He came like a ready-made horse. There was no learning curve with him because he already knew everything one way or another.
Mayberry said the young colt had a certain air about him, suggesting he already had a sense of how special he was. She recalled that he stopped by the timekeeper’s stand each morning before returning to the barn after a practice session so he could pose for the spectators.
“It was one of those horses, and there have only been a few in my life, where if they started talking to you, you would just answer them,” she said. “It wouldn’t be like, ‘Wow, that horse is talking to me.’ You’d just answer him. He was that kind of horse, super smart and classy in everything he did.
While Mayberry noticed Berry’s intelligent personality early on, it wasn’t until he started to blow that she knew his abilities were also exceptional.
“I always thought he was probably a really good horse, but on the first day we kind of let him pick him up a bit, that sealed the deal,” she said.
Shortly after Flightline started to blow, Agent David Ingordo came by for a visit. Mayberry remembers standing by the runway and waiting for Flightline to appear when they heard a commotion coming from the barn.
“David and I went back to the barn to see what the problem was and found that Flightline had decided to cut off the back of the stall door,” Mayberry explained. “It was a breathtaking injury, what are we going to do, but we were pretty sure everything would be okay after the vet came over and stitched it up.”
For weeks, the Mayberry Farm team tended to Flightline’s injuries daily and cared for the foal on long days off in the stall.
“This horse has never turned a hair,” recalls Mayberry. “Often with injuries in horses, a lot depends on the horse whether it is a good patient or not. This is a big part of the battle. But he knew everyone was there to help him.
After two months the injury was healed and Flightline resumed training as if he had never had a day off. With an almost imperceptible scar on the back, Flightline was sent to John Sadler and thrived in his training there, just as he had done in Ocala.
While the Mayberry team missed out on their prodigy talent after shipping to California, it wasn’t long before their place was filled with another colt who entered the farm with equally high expectations ahead of him.
Last fall a City of Light yearling arrived at Ocala and, in a purely fortuitous situation according to Mayberry, was given the same stand that Flightline once occupied.
This young colt from the stakes Tapit mare Anchorage was the topper of the September Keeneland 2021 sale, bought by Woodford Racing, Talla Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds for $ 1.7 million.
“He’s another where he’s just a cool dude,” Mayberry said. “He is extremely classy and calm. He takes a nap every day and does whatever you ask him to do. He has all the qualities that I would like to see as a trainer in a moving horse.
Mayberry Farm has three other newly grown 2-year-olds who have been purchased by partnerships that include West Point Thoroughbreds. They have a second juvenile City of Light, this one a Miss Mo Kelly filly (Congratulations) bought for $ 500,000, as well as two Justify foals – one from Flaming Heart (Touch Gold) bought for $ 675,000 and the other , a son of stakes producer True Feelings (Latent Heat), was the third most expensive yearling in Keeneland’s September 2021 sale, sold to Talla Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds for $ 1.55 million.
“The True Feelings colt was a bit more energetic at the start,” said Mayberry. “He was very full of himself and very confident. Once broke and on the track, he really calmed down and seems to be enjoying his training.
Mayberry said that over the years she has learned that the key to raising these young horses is to make sure they enjoy their work.
“Our philosophy is to let the horse tell us,” she explained. “If you listen, they will tell you what they need. I think the happier they are, the more they will do for you. If we can make it easy for them, the rest is falling into place. “
April Mayberry, a fourth generation rider, runs Mayberry Farm alongside her mother Jeanne and sister Summer. The farm opened in 2000 and since then their list of superstar graduates has grown into a book.
Their first big name was champion Zenyatta, whom Mayberry describes as independent, intelligent, and a filly motivated by both sleep and snacks. The 2010 Horse of the Year was soon followed by the Grade I winners, Exaggerator and Texas Red. 2017 Mayberry Farm foals include the recent GII San Antonio S. Express Train (Union Rags) as well as GISW and Lane’s End Honor AP sire (Honor Code). In addition to several successful stallions, many of their former trainees have made a name for themselves as broodmares including Bubbler (Distorted Humor), dam of champion Arrogate, and Authenticity (Quiet American), dam of Hill’s new sire. ‘n’ Dale. Charlatan.
Mayberry said that looking back on their most successful graduates, she can pinpoint a common thread.
“I have seen a lot of good horses in my day,” she said. “The one thing they all have in common is intelligence. They must want to do it. They can have all the abilities in the world, but if they don’t want to do it, they won’t and you can’t do them. The key is to make them want to do it and most of the time it’s natural.
Mayberry can’t pick an all-time favorite intern, but she’s convinced their newest star graduate is one they’ll never forget.
“I don’t like to compare horses because they are all different, whether in terms of ability, personality or appearance, but Flightline is exactly what you are looking for,” she said. “When he first stepped on the track, he made you smile. That’s why we do what we do, for horses like him.