Three minor races for Kentucky Derby aspirants were held in the last two weeks in New York, Florida and California.
Only one of the races was graded and none of the victors will receive points in
the new Kentucky Derby points system.
The winners and runners up in the Jerome Stakes (G-2), Pasco Stakes and
California Derby could become players on the Triple Crown trail in their next
contests. This week, we’ll take a closer look at Jerome hero Vyjack. Dynamic
Sky was profiled before his Pasco Stakes
victory as a horse to watch and We'll examine
the pedigree of California Derby winner Zeewat later this week.
In capturing the Jerome Stakes (G-2), Vyjack became the third stakes winner for his
freshman sire Into Mischief. The Rudy Rodriguez trainee battled from start to finish in a game
effort, prevailing by a head over second place finisher Siete de Oros despite bumping through the stretch with that
rival. It was three lengths back to Amerigo Vespucci. Piloted by Cornelio
Velasquez, Vyjack ran 1 mile 70 yards in
1:40.67 over Aqueduct's inner track. This is the first time the Jerome Stakes
has been held at the distance, as the
race was held at a mile previously. The last colt to earn a Jerome
Stakes/Kentucky Derby double was Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000.
VYJACK (Into Mischief - Life Happened, by Stravinsky) was
purchased for $100K from the Fasig Tipton Midatlantic two year old in training
sales by Pick Six Racing. The bay gelding was a long-shot winner of his 6 ½
furlong debut, defeating his rivals by 1 ½ lengths in November, 2012. A month
later, Vyjack splashed his way over a muddy track to a 5 ¾ length victory in
the 7 furlong Traskwood Stakes at Aqueduct.
With his victory in the Jerome Stakes, Vyjack catapulted to the top of
the top of the list of 2013 Kentucky Derby contenders stabled in New York. He
is now undefeated in three starts and has earned $202,200.
The bay gelding's first crop sire Into
Mischief made it to the races in late October of his two year old season. Into
Mischief was a lightly raced, but talented colt who won or placed in all six
starts. He was victorious from 6 ½ furlongs to 1 1/16 miles. His miler's
pedigree kept him off of the Triple Crown trail.
Into Mischief sired 41 foals in his first
crop. He finished 2012 as the third leading sire in terms of earnings. 21 of his progeny have raced, eight are
winners and three are stakes winners. Two are graded stakes winners. Perhaps
one or two of his progeny will place at longer distances, but for the most
part, Into Mischief's offspring will be distance challenged and will find 1 1/16
miles at the top of their range. His
Holiday hasn't produced a stakes winner past
1 1/8 miles. Into Mischief's damsire Tricky Creek sired one stakes winner at 1 1/8 miles and none past
INTO MISCHIEF (Harlan's Holiday
- Leslie's Lady, by Tricky Creek)
Race Record: 6-3-3-0 ($597,080)
1st – Cashcall Futurity (G-1) 1 1/16 miles
1st – Damascus Stakes
2nd – Hollywood Prevue Stakes (G-2) 7F
2nd - San Vicente Stakes (G-2) 7F
2nd – Malibu Stakes (G-1) 7F
There is stakes quality in Vyjack's
female family and his recent ancestors are well known on the Midatlantic race
circuit. He is the third foal produced
by the unraced mare Life Happened (Stravinsky - Round It Off, by Apalachee). His half brother Prime Cut (by Bernstein) owns a 10-2-2-4 ($135,915) race record
and placed in the Lexington (G-3), Peter
Pan (G-2) and listed Curlin Stakes.
Life Happened is a half sister to 2001
Maryland Champion Sprinter Disco Rico (by Citidancer). The stallion is a
multiple Grade 3 winner and currently stands in New York. Vyjack's second dam Round It Off (Apalachee -
Capp It Off, by Double Zeus) was an allowance class mare on the track. She
placed in a listed sprint. Vyjack's
third dam Cap It Off (Double Zeus - Turn Capp, by Turn to Reason) was a multiple stakes winner who counts the Maryland
Millions Distaff amongst her victories. Other notable stakes winners descended
from this female family include Champion Sprinter Smoke Glacken and Grade 2
winners Smokey Glacken and Crown of Thorns.
Vyjack's damsire Stravinsky was a
multiple Group 1 sprinter in England and earned the title of English/Irish
Champion Sprinter in 1999. At stud, he continued the line of Nijinsky and
Northern Dancer, getting 71 stakes winners throughout the world. As a broodmare
sire, Stravinsky is represented by 11 stakes winners, including the English
millionaire Rip Van Winkle (by Galileo) and two Australian stars, three-time
Group 1 winning filly Mosheen (by Fastnet Rock) and South Australian Derby
winner Sea Galleon (by Galileo). All
three comprise of Stravinsky's sole winners at 1 ¼ miles or farther and are
sired by stallions known for passing stamina attributes to their offspring.
STRAVINSKY (Nureyev - Fire the Groom, by Blushing Groom (FR))
Race Record: 8-3-1-1 ($361,450)
1st – Nunthrope Stakes (Gr.1)
1st - July Cup (Gr.1) 6F
2nd – Prix de Salamandre (Gr.
3rd - Dewhurst Stakes (Gr. 1) 7F
Vyjack's second damsire, the impeccably
bred Apalachee (Round Table – Moccasin, by
Nantallah) was Champion Juvenile Colt in England and Ireland in
1973. The daughters of Apalachee bore
Vyjack has a smooth gait with excellent
extension and no paddling or excessive knee action. The gelding appears to have
a typical miler's build, with a leaner appearance than a sprinter, yet a less
slanted shoulder and longer back than a classic distance horse. Vyjack's pedigree indicates that he will be
best up to 1 1/6 miles, and may place against stakes company at 1 1/8 miles. He
will likely be distance challenged going farther. According to his connections,
the undefeated Vyjack will likely rest up and compete in the Gotham Stakes (G-3)
on March 2.