02/22/2007 12:00AM

Flying First Class has Lukas dreaming


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Flying First Class put up the highest Beyer Speed Figure for a 3-year-old this year when he won a maiden race at Oaklawn Park on Monday with a 107. He won the six-furlong race by eight lengths in 1:09.92, in what was his second career start. Flying First Class is now being pointed for the Grade 3, $300,000 Rebel Stakes here on March 17, said his trainer, D. Wayne Lukas.

"That was an awesome effort," Lukas said of the win on Monday. "When you stop and think about the time, it's one thing. But he went into a tremendous headwind. When they turned up the stretch, I looked at those [infield] flags and thought, well, I hope he's not short because those flags were just whipping.

"I thought he just did everything as professional as he could. We've always been high on this horse. We've loved him from the start. He's just a tank of a horse. He's big, and strong and got a mind, a beautiful mind. He handles everything wonderful.

"Even in that paddock - never been in there and all those people were there that day because of the giveaway - and he stood there like a stone, never moved."

Flying First Class then went out and wired the field in the sixth race, before a crowd of 28,972.

"Before the race, I didn't know what direction I was going with him," said Lukas. "After the race, I think I'll just keep him right here and look toward the Rebel. I think he showed enough professionalism, and even though he's light on seasoning, he's strong on brains and professionalism. He's far beyond a horse that's had two outs."

Flying First Class made his career debut at Turfway Park on Sept. 7. He finished second, four lengths behind the winner at odds of 20-1.

"He went a mile on Polytrack," said Lukas. "He ran extremely well, got a little bit tired, and then he came back out of that with just a slight shin, and I thought so much of him that I never turned him out or anything. I just backed off him."

Flying First Class made his return on the undercard of the $250,000 Southwest Stakes, a one-mile race for 3-year-olds, which Teuflesberg won with a Beyer of 100. Flying First class is a son of $550,000 yearling Perfect Mandate, and he races for E.W. and Judy Johnston.

"Perfect Mandate, I bought as a yearling," said Lukas. "He's by Gone West. He was an extremely talented horse. I mean, one of the better ones I've had my hands on. He was so fast that we spent the whole time before his first out trying to slow him down. I think his maiden out, he went 43 and [4] the first half-mile, with us [restraining him]. Then he got hurt."

Lukas suggested the Johnstons purchase Perfect Mandate for stud duty, and their Old English Rancho bred Flying First Class in California. Perfect Mandate, who was second in both of his career starts, is a full brother to Performing Magic, who won the Grade 2 Illinois Derby, the Grade 3 Derby Trial, and the Remington Park Derby. Flying First Class will be traveling 1 1/16 miles in the Rebel, which is a prep for the Grade 2, $1 million Arkansas Derby.

"I'm definitely not worried about this horse going two turns," Lukas said. "This is a big, long-striding horse that will run from here to the Rocky Mountains.

"He's got me getting up in the mornings."