Competing in Friday’s opening event, Flex The Muscle left the starting gate cautiously with Gareth Dowse doing the driving. The well-bred son of Muscles Yankee-Alix Hall was fifth at the quarter before muscling up in the clubhouse turn and becoming a challenging second at the half. The strong striding brown youngster took charge from there and completed his career-best performance, winning by 1-3/4 lengths over Rich Number.
A $140,000 yearling purchase, Flex The Muscle secured his second score and improved his earnings to $31,183 after five official starts for trainer/co-owner Ray Schnittker and his partners Jerry Silva and the Arden Homestead Stable. His stout showing tied the Vernon standard for his age, sex and gait, set by Manfinity in October of 2006.
Coco Lindy, a homebred still registered to the Lindy Farms of Connecticut, captured the other $10,000 Kindergarten male test with a 1:59.4 mile for driver Domenico Cecere and trainer Frank Antonacci. It was the first lifetime start for the bay son of Cantab Hall-Nutty Butty.
The $10,000 filly flights were won by Photogenic Legs (Classic Photo-Classical Flirt), a 1:59.4 score for driver Jimmy Whittemore, trainer Ray Van Dreason and owners Jay Sears, Russell Peavyhouse and Phillip Peavyhouse, and Liebchen (Yankee Glide-Cartier Hall), a 2:00 tally with trainer Jan Johnson doing the teaming for owner Joseph Mendelson.
Photogenic Legs remains undefeated after two lifetime starts, while Liebchen was making her career debut.
Whittemore also won with his father’s (Dennis) pacer Cannae Hammer to record his meet-leading 14th double and move to within three victories of current dash-leading leader Howard Okusko, Jr. (62-59).