Saturday, September 27, 2014

Vyjack hijacks G2 Kelso 'Cap

The New York Racing Association, Inc.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Vyjack hijacks G2 Kelso 'Cap


By Jenny Kellner


ELMONT, N.Y. - Overlooked at nearly 10-1, Vyjack earned his first stakes victory in 18 months as he wore down River Rocks in the final yards in the 34th running of the Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso Handicap, the first of six graded stakes on TVG Super Saturday at Belmont Park.


Settling in midpack behind a brisk opening half-mile in 45.64 seconds, Vyjack was tipped to the outside as the field of seven rounded the turn, and headed into the stretch with the frontrunning River Rocks and favorite Itsmyluckyday in his sights. Closing eagerly under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., Vyjack drew alongside River Rocks with a little more than a sixteenth of a mile to go and edged away to win by a length.


Itsmyluckyday was third, another 2 ½ lengths back.


"I brought him outside because I knew he likes to come around," said Ortiz. "I tried to do what's best for the horse."


Vyjack, who entered the Kelso off third- and fourth-place finishes in the Grade 1, seven-furlong Forego and Grade 1, six-furlong Alfred G. Vanderbilt, respectively, completed the mile in 1:34.05 as he added the Kelso to last year's victories in the Grade 3 Gotham and the Grade 2 Jerome at Aqueduct Racetrack.


"To see him get beat was kind of hard, but he was running against some nice horses," said Rudy Rodriguez, who trains Vyjack for David Wilkenfeld's Pick Six Racing. "To see him show up today was very, very special."


Itsmyluckyday, winner of the Grade 1 Woodward prior to the Kelso, was a nose in front of 36-1 Scarly Charly.


"We got beat," said Eddie Plesa, Jr., trainer of Itsmyluckyday. "That's why they race horses. They don't give you anything. I'm going to have to look at the race over again and see what I think. Maybe he was laying close, maybe he wasn't."


Completing the order of finish were Capo Bastone, Golden Ticket and Bradester.


Vyjack, now 6-0-2 from 14 career starts, earned $240,000 to enhance his bankroll to $902,500. He returned $21.20 for a $2 win bet.


His next start, said Rodriguez, has yet to be determined.


"Our main goal had been the Cigar Mile [Grade 1, Aqueduct Racetrack, November 29], but I have to talk to the owner and see what his plans are now," he said.




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