Trainer Rudy Rodriguez was counting his blessings on Sunday, six days in advance of
Vyjack’s expected start in the Grade 3, $400,000
Gotham, a 1 1/16-mile race for
3-year-olds and Aqueduct Racetrack’s primary prep race for the Grade 1,
$1 million Wood Memorial on April 6.
Vyjack, owned by David Wilkenfeld’s Pick Six Racing, is unbeaten
in three starts, all at Aqueduct. In his most recent outing, he
contested the pace and wore down Siete
de Oros to win the Grade 2 Jerome by a head on January 5 at Aqueduct.
It was Rodriguez’s biggest victory since making the transition from
riding to training in 2010.
“I’m still dreaming. It’s a very good feeling,” said Rodriguez.
“I’m very lucky to have him. The competition is going to get tougher, so
he’ll have to keep stepping
On Thursday Rudy Rodriguez sent out Vyjack for a six-furlong
breeze over the inner track, with the gelded son of Into Mischief
covering the distance in 1:15.13.
“He did it very good and did him everything we asked him to do,”
said Rodriguez. “It looks like he’s coming into the race in good shape.
He’s going a little longer this
time, so we had him breeze six furlongs and gallop out seven eighths.”
Rodriguez also has a prime contender for the Grade 3, $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap for sprinters in
Head Heart Hoof, a 7-year-old gelding who picked up his first graded stakes victory in his 50th start when he won the Grade 3 Toboggan on February 2.
“I’m hoping he draws a good post [in the Tom Fool],” said
Rodriguez, who trains Head Heart Hoof for a partnership headed by
Michael Dubb. “The [outside] post helped
him last time. He likes the inner track, which is why he’s running his
best races now. We’re lucky to have him around.”