The Jerome Stakes will run on Saturday, January 2nd and present a purse of $200,000 in the one of the first graded stakes races of the 2016 season. At a distance of one mile and 70 yards, the dirt track race tends to favour sprinters. Much of the sport’s attention will be fixated on the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York to see if any of the nominated entries can emerge as a longshot candidate to bust in to the Kentucky Derby.
One of those is Flexibility, who is considered the favourite at the 2016 Jerome Stakes. The offspring of Bluegrass Cat and Santa Viniti is very familiar with the Aqueduct Racetrack having competed at the venue twice in late 2015. Flexibility finished second in both the Remsen and the Nashua behind Mohayman. Known more as a stalker than a pace setter, Flexibility’s time to shine may very come this weekend at the Jerome Stakes to open 2016.
He’ll be challenged primarily by Bird of Trey, a three-year old trainee of John C. Servis, who won the Pennsylvania Nursery earlier in December by 7 1/2 lengths. This is going to be Bird of Trey’s biggest jump in competition to date so it will be interesting to see how he rivals the preferred Flexibility from the start.
Donegal Moon will also draw interest as a Todd Pletcher product, though his 5th place finish at the Remsen fails to elicit that much encouragement. He’s a likely candidate to roar out of the post if he’s gained any confidence. Silent Assassin is another horse who could definitely set a high tempo for the competition at the 2016 Jerome Stakes.
The focus, however, remains on Flexibility who closed as a 71/1 longshot to win the Kentucky Derby according to the KDFW. To put this in perspective, Mohayman is an 11/1 second-favourite behind only Nyquist. This could very well be Flexibility’s chance to show the competitive and tactical nature his handlers have been professing for quite some time.
You can see Flexibility compete in last year’s Remsen below and take a sneak preview at the horse to back in the upcoming Jerome Stakes this Saturday.