Staffan Lind might have felt a little sick when he saw the result of the Peter Haughton Memorial earlier this month, but the trainer is hoping Billy Flynn's future is the remedy.
Billy Flynn, a 2-year-old male trotter who is undefeated in four races, was not staked to the Haughton because of an injury he suffered soon after being purchased as a yearling for $120,000 at the 2013 Lexington Selected Sale.
But in his second start, in a division of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes on July 15, Billy Flynn beat Haughton champion Centurion ATM by three-quarters of a length in 1:56.4 at The Meadows. Haughton runner-up Uncle Lasse finished third.
At first, Lind wondered what Billy Flynn might have accomplished if he was in the Haughton. But the trainer put such thoughts aside quickly.
"It's better to have a good horse and have regrets that you couldn't race than the other way around,” Lind said. "He has his whole life in front of him. I'm sure he can prove himself.”
Billy Flynn's next start is Thursday in the fourth of four Pennsylvania Sires Stakes divisions for 2-year-old male trotters at Harrah's Philadelphia. He will leave from post three with regular driver Brett Miller and is the 8-5 favorite on the morning line.
So far this year, the colt has earned $78,505 for owner Bender Sweden Inc., thanks to wins in divisions of the Pennsylvania All- Stars, Arden Downs and two rounds of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes.
"He's a big horse with a big gait, but the best thing about him is his attitude,” Lind said. "He will give you a hundred percent every time. He showed it right away. He was just waiting for me to ask him to go a little bit more.”
Billy Flynn is a son of Cantab Hall out of the Enjoy Lavec-sired mare Zeta Jones. Three of Cantab Hall's five richest foals -- Father Patrick, Uncle Peter, and Pastor Stephen -- were out of dams sired by Enjoy Lavec and Billy Flynn's full brother Mr. Chicago was a winner in both the U.S. and Europe.
"He was a big, strong colt with a nice pedigree,” Lind said about Billy Flynn, who was named after the smooth-talking lawyer in the musical "Chicago,” which co-starred Catherine Zeta-Jones in the film version.
"I like the cross with Cantab and Enjoy Lavec. We went for it. I thought he would be right around ($100,000). You never know at a sale. You try to set a limit for every horse you're bidding on, and in his case we probably would have gone a little bit more.”
Billy Flynn's early development was put on hold for nearly a month because the colt suffered a strained ligament behind a knee while being shipped to Lind's winter base in Florida.
"When he walked off the truck he was lame,” said Lind, adding with a resigned laugh, "That's the life of a horse trainer. That's the reason we never paid him into the Peter Haughton. He wasn't supposed to be racing that early.”
But Billy Flynn got to the races on July 4 and won his debut, in the Pennsylvania All-Stars, by 6 1/2 lengths. Three weeks later, he captured his Arden Downs division in 1:56.2, equaling the stakes record. He has won his four starts by a total of 11 1/4 lengths.
His remaining stakes schedule includes the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes, Valley Victory, Matron, and Breeders Crown.
"We like him a lot,” Lind said. "I hope by the end of the year people know about him. I wouldn't trade him for anyone else.” (HRC)