Flexibility much the best in Jerome
Flexibility swept to the lead leaving the far turn and cruised to a 4 1/4-length decision in Saturday’s $200,000 Jerome (G3) at Aqueduct, picking up 10 points in the first Kentucky Derby qualifying race of the New Year.
Trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Flexibility was favored at 1-2 over seven 3-year-old rivals and completed a mile and 70 yards in 1:42.98 on the fast inner track. The son of Bluegrass Cat is owned by Klaravich Stables Inc. and William H. Lawrence.
Flexibility stalked about five lengths back in fourth as Vorticity and Bird of Try contested opening splits of :23.48 and :.47.31 with Condo King a close-up third. Without being asked by Ortiz, the bay colt advanced to reach even terms by the conclusion of the far turn and began to edge away after straightening for home.
He switched lead belatedly in midstretch, perhaps losing some focus as he struck the front early, but that was the only hiccup as Flexibility finished full of run.
Vorticity held for second as the 7-1 third choice in the wagering, 2 ½ lengths better than the 22-1 In Equality in third. Bird of Trey, Let Me Go First, Condo King and Silent Assassin came next under the wire. Donegal Moon stumbled badly at the start, dislodging jockey Manny Franco, and King Krantz was scratched after capturing the 6-furlong Lost in the Fog on Friday.
Donegal Moon and Franco reportedly escaped serious injury.
A smart debut winner over New York-bred maiden special weight rivals at Belmont Park on October 11, Flexibility recorded a pair of non-threatening seconds in his next two outings, the November 4 Nashua (G2) and November 28 Remsen (G2) on Aqueduct’s main track, and flattered the winner of both races, Mohaymen, while recording his initial stakes victory on Saturday.
Flexibility has now earned $256,000.
Bred by WinStar Farm LLC, Flexibility hails from the Vindication mare Santa Vindi, a daughter of multiple Grade 3 queen Santa Catalina and a half-sister to Grade 1-winning sire Golden Missile, who earned more than $2.1 million. Flexibility initially sold for $80,000 as a yearling before bringing an $185,000 purchase price last spring at the Fasig-Tipton Florida March sale.
Cherie DeVaux, assistant to Chad Brown: “It's very exciting to have him continue to perform well going in these races. Hopefully each one he can continue to step up. He's been professional throughout. He just steps it up each time. It was a very professional effort, sitting behind the speed today and moving on cue. The race set up well for him. He's always been a big, strong colt who did everything correct. Chad and the owners will talk about what's next for him. After following Moyhamen [in the Remsen and Nashua] it was a good feeling to see him get his head in front of the other horses.”
Irad Ortiz: “First, I want to say to the owners I'm thankful for the opportunity to ride this horse. He broke very sharp today, I had to take a hold of him to get him back. I was told they wanted him to rate and save ground. When I asked, he took off and I just wanted him to be able to switch leads in the stretch and finish in the stretch. He did it easy.”
Photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese Photography