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Vyjack Refuses to Lose Jerome

Favorite Vyjack with Cornelio Velasquez holds off 41 - 1 longshot Siete de Oros to win143rd running of the Grade II Jerome Stakes for 3-year olds, going 1 mile 70 yards on the inner dirt, at Aqueduct Racetrack. Trainer Rudy Rodriguez. Owner Pick Six Racing **
Favored Vyjack handled two turns and an unexpectedly tough opponent in 41-1 Siete de Oros on Saturday afternoon to remain undefeated with a hard-fought victory in the 143rd running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Jerome at Aqueduct Racetrack.

 

The gelded son of Into Mischief, whose previous wins came in a 6 ½-furong maiden race and the seven-furlong Traskwood overnight stakes, raced alongside Mudflats as the opening half of the one-mile, 70-yard race went in 47.58 seconds. Moving into the lead as the field of eight 3-year-olds headed into the far turn, Vyjack came out when passed on the inside by Siete de Oros straightening for home, but was kept to task by jockey Cornelio Velasquez and prevailed by a head after a lengthy duel.

 

“My horse, I think, is a good horse, but he’s a little green,” said Velasquez. “He doesn’t pay too much attention during the race. He tried to get out, and at the quarter pole the other horse came inside. He passed me and my horse changed leads, but I had a lot of horse. My horse tried to get out, fought a little bit, changed leads, and came back again.”

 

Vyjack’s winning time was 1:40.67 as he extended his record to 3-0 for trainer Rudy Rodriguez and Pick Six Racing.

 

“He’s still learning and hopefully he keeps learning,” said Rodriguez. “He was very game. He shows us in the morning he’s that way. I really don’t want to see him on the lead because he’ll kind of want to wait for horses. Hopefully this race will wake him up a little bit and put him more in the game because he’s got a lot of talent.”

 

While trainer Ramon Preciado said Siete de Oros will return in the Grade 3, $200,000 Withers on February 2, Rodriguez said Vyjack will await the 59th running of the Grade 3, $400,000 Gotham on March 3. The 1 1/16-mile Gotham is followed on April 6 by the Grade 1, $1 million Wood Memorial, New York’s final major prep for the Kentucky Derby.

 

The even-money favorite, Vyjack returned $4.30 for a $2 win bet and earned $120,000. Purchased for $100,000 as a 2-year-old in May, he has now amassed $202,200 in winnings.

 

Amerigo Vespucci, a 39-1 shot, finished three lengths back in third, and with Long River, Vegas No Show, Notacatbutallama, Mudflats and James Jingle completing the order of finish.

Although Vyjack was one of three winning favorites in Saturday’s Pick 6, Firstbellathenkk kicked off the sequence with a $230 upset in race 5 and helped trigger a two-day carryover of $99,787 into Sunday’s card.

 

 

 

 

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