Road to the Kentucky Derby Horse Profile

Champagne Stakes winner Complexity

It’s easy to see why trainer Chad Brown has hailed COMPLEXITY  as an “outstanding talent.” After a flashy debut score at Saratoga, the Klaravich Stables runner followed up with a brilliant victory in the October 6 Champagne S. (G1) at Belmont Park.

But the high speed shown in his two wins, and his pedigree, raise the possibility of distance limitations down the road. His first test around two turns will come in the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs. If that’s within his comfort zone, stiffer challenges await on the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail next spring.

For the moment, however, Complexity is a budding star. His breeder, Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, is responsible for two Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winners – Texas Red (2014) and last year’s champion Good Magic – as well as 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) champion My Miss Aurelia.

Complexity is by Maclean’s Music, also the sire of Klaravich and Brown’s only Triple Crown race winner, Cloud Computing, who captured the 2017 Preakness (G1). Cloud Computing is an outlier in that respect, since the rest of Maclean’s Music’s leading U.S. progeny are sprinters.

While Cloud Computing inherited stamina from his dam, Complexity likely won’t receive as much. He is out of the unraced mare Goldfield, the daughter of pure sprinters Yes It’s True and Folly Dollar. Goldfield has produced three winners, most notably Doubledogdare (G3) heroine Valadorna. Although she was sired by classic influence Curlin, Valadorna’s optimal distance is about 1 1/16 miles.

Purchased for $375,000 as a Keeneland September yearling, Complexity was sent off as the 4-5 favorite in his Labor Day debut at Saratoga. He recovered from a sluggish start to take charge early and run his rivals ragged in a fast six-furlong time of 1:09.78.

The Champagne popped a new question: could he harness that speed effectively over a mile, against much deeper competition? Complexity once again blasted to the lead and never looked back en route to earning 10 Derby points. His final time for the Champagne was a sharp 1:34.63, worth a 99 BRIS Speed rating.

Unlike his first race, however, a rival was gaining late to reduce his winning margin. Code of Honor, last early after stumbling at the break, finished fast, and Complexity’s advantage shrank from five to three lengths at the wire.

Is that a harbinger of what might happen as Complexity stretches out to longer distances? Or will the top-class colt continue to burn his foes off with his speed?