Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s Flexibility opened his 3-year-old season with a stylish 4 ¼-length victory in Saturday’s $200,000 Jerome Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct, picking up 10 points while dominating the first Kentucky Derby qualifying race of the New Year.
By 2006 Kentucky Derby runner-up Bluegrass Cat, the Chad Brown-trained colt also flattered Mohaymen – Flexibility finished second to the well-regarded Kentucky Derby prospect in both the November 28 Remsen (G2) and November 4 Nashua (G2) before breaking through with his initial stakes success.
After garnering 4 points for the Remsen runner-up, Flexibility jumped into a three-way tie for third on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with a total of 14.
Flexibility stalked the pace in midpack with jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. before launching his bid on the far turn. The 1-2 favorite among eight rivals, the bay swept to the lead entering the stretch and rolled home unopposed, completing a mile and 70 yards in 1:42.98 on the fast inner track.
Pacesetter Vorticity held for second, 2 ½ lengths better than third-placer In Equality. Bird of Trey, Let Me Go First, Condo King and Silent Assassin came next under the wire. Donegal Moon stumbled badly at the start and dislodged jockey Manny Franco – both horse and jockey were reported to have escaped serious injury.
Flexibility, who captured his first career start over New York-bred maidens special weight foes at Belmont Park on October 11, has now earned $256,000 from four starts.
“It's very exciting to have him continue to perform well going in these races. Hopefully each one he can continue to step up,” said Cherie DeVaux, assistant to Brown. “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 broke very sharp today, I had to take a hold of him to get him back,” Ortiz explained. “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