Sadler with the latest on Flightline, Edgeway and more

Arcadia, Calif.

It was about a year ago that John Sadler won his second Santa Anita Derby, after an 11-year gap, when Rock Your World galloped to a front-running victory. He will be limited to watching this year’s edition of the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby prep at Santa Anita Saturday.

Sadler’s 3-year-old class for 2022 was limited and has been largely under the radar to this point. Any classic aspirations for the veteran trainer will have to wait another year.

But disappointment in that regard is quickly buoyed with the realization that Sadler’s shedrow houses a pair of potential champions this season to go with multiple other graded-stakes types.

On Wednesday, Horse Racing Nation caught up with the 65-year-old conditioner for updates on some of his top talents.

Flightline. The unbeaten Grade 1 winner, who was a finalist for champion male sprinter last year, continues to gallop daily after a strained hock knocked him out of training in February. Sadler indicated a return to the work tab for Flightline is forthcoming.

“He’s galloping and coming right along,” Sadler said. “He’s getting close to a work, but with him I don’t like to give specifics because if there’s a change the world goes crazy. But he’ll start working once a week.”

Flightline’s first major goal of the season remains the $1 million Metropolitan Handicap (G1) on the Belmont Stakes undercard on June 11. With just a little more than nine weeks until that target, it remains to be seen whether Flightline will be able to squeeze in a prep. Sadler declined to speculate, but he previously indicated the seven-furlong Churchill Downs (G1) on the Kentucky Derby undercard May 7 could be used as a launching pad.

Other stated goals for Flightline this season are either the Pacific Classic (G1) or Whitney (G1) in late summer and the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland in the fall. Although it’s an abbreviated campaign, three Grade 1s with a classic would make it tough to deny an Eclipse Award for the son of Tapit.

Flightline was a $1 million auction purchase as a yearling and is campaigned by West Point Thoroughbreds, Hronis Racing, Siena Farm, Summer Wind Equine and Woodford Racing. Last year, he won his bow at Santa Anita in April, an allowance at Del Mar in September and the Malibu (G1) in December by a combined 37 1/2 lengths.

Edgeway. Sadler’s other championship hopeful, who closed out last year as the runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, is 2-for-2 this year and slated to contest the seven-furlong Derby City Distaff (G1) on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

Edgeway also had been a candidate for Saturday’s Madison (G1) going seven furlongs at Keeneland, but Sadler opted to wait the extra month for her next start.

On Monday, Edgeway had her first work since winning the March 13 Las Flores (G3) at Santa Anita, a four-furlong drill in 48.6 seconds.

“She’s doing really well, had a nice little work the other day,” Sadler said. “We decided to skip Keeneland for her, so if she goes east it will be for the race at Churchill Downs on Derby day.”

Sadler previously won the Derby City Distaff in 2010 with Mona de Momma at 8-1.

A 5-year-old mare by Competitive Edge, Edgeway has a sparkling record of 11:7-2-1 with earnings of $656,360 for Hronis Racing. She kicked off this year’s campaign with a win in the listed Kalookan Queen at Santa Anita on Jan. 2.

Elector. This emergent 4-year-old rolled by 4 3/4 lengths and earned a lofty 94 Beyer Speed ​​Figure when graduating in his second start going seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Feb. 26. Runner-up American Admiral, a $1.3 million auction purchase, and third-place finisher Set Sail for trainer Richard Mandella both came back to dominate maidens in their next starts.

“We think he’s a really good horse,” Sadler said. “He ran a powerful figure the other day.”

By Constitution, Elector has worked four times since that effort and will breeze once more this weekend before testing allowance foes at Santa Anita on April 16.

“We’re excited to see what he can do in his next start,” Sadler said.

Elector, who was just a $65,000 auction buy as a yearling, is campaigned by West Point Thoroughbreds, Edwin S. Barker and William Sandbrook.

2-year-olds. Sadler said last year he had a limited number of juveniles because of the pandemic, but things are trending upward this season.

“We got five in here now, and it’s looking like next week we’ll be getting another five, so this is a fun time of the year,” he said. “For one thing, this year I have a real class. We pretty much skipped last year because of Covid.”

Sadler added that there will likely end up being about 25 2-year-olds in his barn this season. The most high-profile of those is among the five scheduled to arrive next week: a colt named Nuclear, who is from the first crop of Triple Crown winner Justify and was purchased for $1.55 million at last year’s Keeneland September yearling sale by West Point and Talla Racing.

Nuclear is out of the graded-stakes placed True Feelings, by Latent Heat, and is kin to 2006 champion 3-year-old filly Wait a While.

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