Photo: Eclipse Sportswire - Sue Kawczynski
the 2013 Grade 3 Gotham winner, will make his first start in almost
nine months on Sunday when he competes in a seven-furlong optional
claimer at Aqueduct Racetrack.
winner of his first four races, Vyjack suffered his first defeat when
he was third, beaten one length, in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial before
finishing 18th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, eighth in the Grade 1
Belmont Stakes, and sixth in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational. He was
shut down for the remainder of 2013 after being diagnosed with gastric
who is trained by Rudy Rodriguez for David Wilkenfeld's Pick Six
Racing, began preparing for his comeback at the Fair Hill Training
Center in Maryland before turning in four workouts at Aqueduct. Trainer
Rudy Rodriguez said he hopes the gelded son of Into Mischief is ready to
put in a strong performance in Sunday's race, which could be used as a
springboard to the Grade 1, $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap on June
7, Belmont Stakes Day.
we brought him from Fair Hill we always wanted to try to run him at the
end of the meet [at Aqueduct]," said Rodriguez. "We know he likes
Aqueduct. I don't think we have him 100 percent, so the race looks like a
good race to start him. Maybe a mile would be better for him, but he'll
go seven eighths on the main track. He's doing very good, and we're
happy with the way he's training. We're happy with the way he's coming
up to the race. We'd like to give him this race to point to the bigger
races. If he runs the way we expect him to run, we'll try to run him in
the Met Mile at Belmont. That's our goal right now, so, hopefully,
everything works from here. But so far, so good."
Rodriguez said Vyjack does not have to win on Sunday to continue to the Met Mile.
him like to show up the right way," said Rodriguez. "If he wins, that'd
be very good, especially for him. He's a gelding; we have a long future
ahead of us for him, so we want to try to take one step at a time and
see if we can get the job done on Sunday."