Complexity shakes away in Kelso (G2)
by Ryan Martin
Klaravich Stables' Complexity kept an unbeaten record going a one-turn mile at Belmont Park intact when tracking the pace and shaking off a late challenge from Code of Honor to capture the 40th running of Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Kelso for 3-year-olds and up on the main track.
Guided by jockey Jose Ortiz, the son of Maclean's Music broke alertly from post 3 as Endorsed hustled up the inside to take command, leading the four-horse field through an opening quarter mile in 23.30 seconds and the half in 46.61 on the fast main track.
Around the far turn, Complexity put his head in front with two-time Grade 1-winner Code of Honor looming large in the three-path to the outside. Ortiz gave Complexity his cue at the quarter-pole as the two slugged it out down the stretch, but Complexity kept his foe at bay and drew off to a 2 ¼-length victory over Code of Honor in a final time of 1:33.82.
Stan the Man and Endorsed completed the order of finish. Mo Don't No was scratched.
Now 3-for-3 going a one-turn mile at Belmont Park, Complexity won the Grade 1 Champagne in October 2018 and defeated allowance company in his 2020 debut on July 2. His only loss over Big Sandy was a distant 11th-place finish in the seven-furlong Grade 1 Woody Stephens in June 2019.
Trained by Chad Brown, who teamed up with Klaravich Stables to win the 2018 Kelso with Patternrecognition, Complexity entered off a narrow runner-up effort to late-closing Win Win Win in a sloppy and sealed edition of the Grade 1 Forego on August 29 at Saratoga.
"He was wonderful today. In the [Grade 1] Forego, he broke a step behind, and I decided to take position and ended up going a little quicker than I wanted to," Ortiz said. "Here, going a mile, I didn't have to rush him. He loved the track here. He's doing amazing. It was a messy track last time and he just got caught late. We had to go a little faster to the half last time due to a big field and he didn't break as sharp as I wanted to, so I had to hustle him a little bit to get position. It cost me at the end."
Brown not only praised Ortiz, but Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano aboard Code of Honor for a smart ride.
"He was very relaxed and Jose rode him terrific," Brown said. "It worked out well. I thought Javier rode a smart race with Code of Honor. He didn't let us get too far away and he was up next to us in the stretch and I was actually a little worried. I have a lot of respect for Code of Honor. They threw it down in the stretch and we just had a little bit more today."
Brown said Complexity could target either the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint or Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, both slated for November 7 at Keeneland, but gave slight preference to the Dirt Mile.
"We'll look at either the [Dirt] Mile or the Sprint," Brown said. "I'll keep him eligible to both races but I'm leaning Mile right now."
Returning $3.80 for a $2 win bet, Complexity banked $82,500 in victory while upping his career earnings past the half-million mark to $566,350.
Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Complexity is out of the black-type producing Yes It's True mare Goldfield, who also produced graded stakes winner Valadorna. Complexity was bought for $375,000 from the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
The Kelso honors one of the all-time great thoroughbreds who was named Horse of the Year for five straight seasons from 1960-64. Owned by Allaire du Pont's Bohemia Stable, Kelso's golden resume includes multiple victories in New York's most prestigious races including the Jockey Club Gold Cup (1960-64), the Woodward (1961-63), and the Whitney (1961, 1963 and 1965). He was inducted into Racing's Hall of Fame in 1967.
Live racing resumes Sunday at Belmont with a 10-race card highlighted by a trio of graded events, including the Grade 2, $150,000 Miss Grillo at 1 1/16-miles on turf for juvenile fillies; the Grade 2, $150,000 Beldame at nine furlongs on Big Sandy for fillies and mares 3-years-old and upwards; and the Grade 3, $150,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational at six furlongs for 3-year-olds and upward. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern.