First Captain has shared a number of serendipities with Breeders’ Cup Classic favorite Flightline, and now he has the chance to lead the charge for a red-letter week for West Point Thoroughbreds and partners. First Captain is the morning-line favorite for Saturday’s Grade 2 Fayette Stakes at Keeneland. A week later, Flightline will be in the spotlight at Keeneland for the $6-million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
First Captain and Flightline were acquired a day apart at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale in August 2019, both commanding the highest price of their individual sale sessions. They wound up debuting on the same day in April 2021, each earning TDN Rising Star status as First Captain prevailed at Belmont Park and Flightline at Santa Anita.
First Captain, a two-time Graded stakes winner, earned his first Grade 1 credentials in his most recent start on September 3 at Saratoga with a third-place finish in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. That race came a few hours before Flightline’s tour de force in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic. West Point, Siena Farm and Woodford Racing are co-owners in the racing partnerships of both Flightline and First Captain.
Luis Saez, vying for the jockey title at Keeneland, has the call on First Captain for the $350,000 Fayette for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey.
Jaxon Traveler, another Graded stakes-winning 4-year-old colt, is the 7/2 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s Grade 3 Bold Ruler Stakes at Belmont at the Big A. He captured the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint earlier this year on Preakness day. Irad Ortiz Jr. will take the reins for the Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen.
One more potential favorite is Jace’s Road, a 2-year-old colt in line for Sunday’s Grade 3 Street Sense Stakes on the Stars of Tomorrow opening day card at Churchill Downs. Jace’s Road, a debut winner by 6 1/2 lengths in August at Ellis Park, stepped up in distance and class with a nice third-place finish in the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes in his only other start.
England’s Rose also be in Graded stakes action on Saturday in the Grade 2 Goldikova at Santa Anita, making her first start since a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Wilshire on May 1.