Firing Line is campaigned by Arnold Zetcher, whose previous two Kentucky Derby starters were Midnight Interlude, who finished 16th in 2011, and Liaison, who ran 6th in 2012.
Bred in Kentucky by Clearsky Farms, the bay colt passed through the auction ring two times – selling for $65,000 as a Keeneland November weanling and $150,000 as a Fasig-Tipton July yearling – before finally being purchased for $240,000 as a Keeneland April two-year-old in training.
Firing Line began his career at Santa Anita Park in late October 2014 with a half-length second against maiden special weight rivals. He graduated one month later with a 4 1/4-length romp over Del Mar’s synthetic Polytrack, and wrapped up his juvenile season with another runner-up effort, this time in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1).
In that contest, Firing Line battled with Dortmund and Mr. Z throughout the stretch before falling short by a head to the former, but continued his upward trend in BRIS Speed ratings when earning a 97.
Firing Line met back up with Dortmund in his three-year-old bow on February 7 in the Robert B. Lewis S. (G3), and once again found himself dueling all the way through the stretch. For a brief moment he appeared ready to exact revenge on Dortmund for the Los Al Futurity, but his foe battled back on the inside to once more get his head in front on the wire.
Firing Line was awarded a 100 BRIS Speed rating for that gusty effort as well as a 103 BRIS E2 Pace figure. Initially, it was expected he would meet his rival for the third straight time on April 4 in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), but trainer Simon Callaghan decided to separate the pair and shipped Firing Line to New Mexico for the Sunland Park Derby (G3) on March 22.
The move proved to be correct, as Firing Line romped by 14 1/4 lengths while setting a new track record for nine furlongs in 1:47.39. He also took home his best BRIS Speed rating to date of 101 and a 104 BRIS E2 Pace figure.
Firing Line is from the first crop of his sire, Line of David, and is the first stakes-caliber runner from his dam, Grade 1-placed Sister Girl Blues. He is descended from Broodmare of the Year Kamar.