Flying Emperor secures Barker victory at Finger Lakes

Monday, May 30th, 2022

Flying Emperor, second in last year’s George W. Barker, wins the 2022 renewal to stay unbeaten this year. SV Photography.

John Hayek’s Flying Emperor lost the 2021 George W. Barker Stakes in the shadow of the finish post. Three starts and nine months later, the 5-year-old Soaring Empire gelding made amends for that close defeat with a victory in the 2022 renewal of one of Finger Lakes’ top sprint stakes.

Sent off the second choice in the field of six – just as he had been in last year’s edition again facing five rivals – Flying Emperor employed his signature front-running style from the start of the 6-furlong Barker. He and jockey Emanual De Diego came away second behind Writer’s Regret at the break but quickly took the lead and were a half-length in front through the opening quarter in :22.09.

Flying Emperor continued on the lead around the far turn, past the half in :44.78 and into the lane a still a half clear of Writer’s Regret. De Diego went to work right-handed on Flying Emperor in deep stretch and they finally shrugged off the pesky Writer’s Regret to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Winston’s Chance finished 2 3/4 lengths back in third with 7-5 favorite Lady’s Golden Guy fourth.

Flying Emperor won the $49,500 Barker in 1:10.36 for his sixth win in 13 starts, to go with seven seconds, and boosted his bankroll to $144,660.

Bred by Mr. and Mrs. Grand L. Whitmer and out of the winning Devil His Due mare Evil Empress, Flying Emperor was purchased by Hayek out of the Fort Christopher’s Thoroughbreds consignment for $20,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale. He was foaled at Brayton Hill Farm in Fort Ann.

Flying Emperor is the ninth foal out of Evil Empress, a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Dancing Rhythm, stakes winner Skeet and stakes-placed Flying Monarch. Evil Empress is the dam of six winners, including the New York-bred winners Closingtothewire, Eveatetheapple, Forbidden City, Spartan Emperor and Virginia Doze.

Grant Whitmer purchased Evil Empire, sold in foal to Teuflesberg, for $1,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale.

Flying Emperor, second by a neck in last year’s Barker run in late August during the pandemic-delayed meeting at Finger Lakes, has raced exclusively at Finger Lakes for trainer James Wright during his career. He won two of three starts at 2, did not race at 3 and won two of eight with six seconds as a 4-year-old in 2021.

After ending the season with back-to-back seconds in the Barker and a 6-furlong state-bred allowance, Wright gave the gelding the winter off and he returned with a victory in a May 10 state-bred allowance. He prepped for his return with three works at Tampa Bay Downs in March and April and two more breezes at Finger Lakes in late April and May.

Leave a Reply