Flying Connection takes flight in Listed Sunland Park Oaks

Three-year-old Nyquist filly punches her ticket to the G1 Kentucky Oaks

Flying Connection punched her ticket to the G1 Kentucky Oaks with a dominant wire-to-wire victory in the Listed Sunland Park Oaks on Sunday, 26 March.

The three-year-old Nyquist filly, who improved her record to four wins in seven starts, earned 50 points toward a spot in the starting gate for the G1 Kentucky Oaks on 5 May.

Flying Connection entered the Sunland Park Oaks off a nine-and-a-quarter length romp in the Island Fashion Stakes on 28 February. After breaking her maiden by a breathtaking 15 ¼ lengths last November, Flying Connection made the jump into Stakes company, taking the Zia Princess Stakes by just over three lengths before finishing third in the Borderplex Stakes at Sunland Park on 29 January.

Breaking sharply under regular rider Alfredo Juarez Jr., Flying Connection went straight to the front. She was quickly joined by California shipper, Doinitthehardway (Street Sense), who pressured her from the outside. The leading pair set swift opening fractions of 22.89 and 46.09 through the opening half-mile. A couple lengths behind them raced Una Palabra in third, with Foolish Delight in fourth.

Doinitthehardway continued to pressure Flying Connection into the far turn as the rest of the field began to cut into the lead. At the top of the stretch, Flying Connection shook loose from Doinitthehardway and began to open up, while under just mild urging from her rider. The result was never in doubt by that point, as Flying Connection crossed the wire an easy winner. Love Tank got up for second, with Don’t Get Pickled closing from far back to take third. Doinitthehardway faded to finish fifth.

A $250,000 Keeneland September Yearling, Flying Connection was bred in Kentucky by Liberty Road Stables. She is out of the multiple Stakes winner and G1 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint-third Free Flying Soul, by former Darley stallion Quiet American. Second dam Ruby Surprise won the G2 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs along with the G3 Turfway Breeders' Cup Stakes at Turfway Park.

The leading first-crop sire of 2020, Nyquist is #1 on the cumulative fourth-crop sires list by G1 horses (9), Graded Stakes horses (22) and Black Type horses (43). In addition to Flying Connection, Nyquist is also represented this year by the talented three-year-old colt, Johannes, recent winner of the $100,000 Baffle Stakes at Santa Anita.

Nyquist stands at Jonabell Farm for a fee of $55,000 in 2023.