10/03/2016 12:36PM

Flint keeps family line moving


Veteran trainer Bernie Flint was beaming in the Churchill Downs winner’s circle on Saturday – and not just because One Mean Man had captured the $100,000 Jefferson Cup for his fourth stakes win of the year. The victory was particularly gratifying because One Mean Man is the latest standout from a family of horses Flint has been involved in developing for more than two decades.

“It’s a feeling you can’t imagine,” said Flint, who co-bred the colt with Ron Hillerich and LTB Inc. “It’s like watching one of your kids play professional football or basketball and be one of the stars, it really is.”

One Mean Man is from the fourth generation of the line developed by Flint and Hillerich, beginning when they purchased his great-grandam My Sea Castles, a multiple stakes winner, as a 2-year-old in 1993. Hillerich co-bred grandam Skye Castles, who produced Grade 1-placed Unbridled Express and multiple stakes-placed More of the Best, both trained by Flint.

“They’re all runners, every one,” Flint said. “From the mare to the grandam, on down. They’re very special horses.”

Skye Castles’s unraced daughter Abbeyville Miss has been the latest linchpin in the family as the dam of three winners from as many starters, all by Kentucky stallion Mizzen Mast and all trained by Flint. The first standout from her progeny was Mizz Money, the winner of this year’s Grade 3 Gallorette Handicap at Pimlico and last year’s Grade 3 Pucker Up Stakes at Arlington Park as well as two other stakes at Fair Grounds.

Blossoming this year to join the family is One Mean Man, who has also displayed his older sister’s affinity for shipping, winning four stakes at four tracks. He added the Jefferson Cup to victories earlier this year in the Grade 3 American Derby at Arlington, the Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury, and the Keith Gee Memorial at Fair Grounds.

“He needs absolutely nothing,” Flint said. “He’s automatic, he ships well, he goes out of town, any track, anywhere. He’s as sweet a horse as you’re gonna find, but he gets tough in that paddock.”

So, where did the name for the “sweet” colt come from?

“He was named after me,” Hillerich laughed. “My wife says she has two sweet kids and one mean man.”

One Mean Man will target bigger prizes next year, with Flint naming the Arlington Million as one long-range goal. Meanwhile, more horses from the family will be joining his outfit in the coming years. Abbeyville Miss was bred back to Mizzen Mast for 2017. And Flint has high hopes for the broodmare career of Mizz Money and One Mean Man’s winning full sister Mizzen Miss, who delivered her first foal this year.

“She’s carrying a Tonalist now, and she has a Verrazano at her side,” Flint said.