Thursday, December 11, 2014

Vyjack looks to end year on high note in $100,000 Queens County


Thursday, December 11, 2014


Contact: Sean Morris


Vyjack looks to end year on high note in $100,000 Queens County


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Grade 2 Kelso Handicap-winner Vyjack is set to headline a competitive edition of the $100,000 Queens County at 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds and up on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.


Trained by Rudy Rodriguez for Pick Six Racing, Vyjack enters the Queens County on short rest, having contested the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap on November 29 at the Big A. The son of Into Mischief finished fifth, beaten 8 ¾ lengths in the Cigar Mile while running against the grain of the racetrack.


"The way the racetrack was playing; it was kind of hard [to win]," said Rodriguez. "We told [Irad Ortiz, Jr.] to keep after [Private Zone] the whole way around, so he could be closer [to the pace]. I guess when you do that you get the horse out of his rhythm - asking him for something that he doesn't normally do. We're just trying to regroup. The horse looks like he came back good enough to run him right back, so that's what we're going to do."


The Queens County will be Vyjack's second start around two turns this year. The 4-year-old gelding has run in a host of one-turn, Grade 1 races on the NYRA circuit in 2014, including the one-mile Metropolitan Handicap, six-furlong Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap, and seven-furlong Forego, but his only two-turn race of the year came in the Grade 2, 1 ¼-mile Suburban Handicap, in which he was eased.


Despite the challenge the distance presents, Rodriguez his confident his star pupil is up to the task.


"He ran a very good race in the Gotham last year, and that was two turns on the inner track," said the trainer. "That's one of the reasons we decided to run him at 1 1/8 miles; it gives us more of an idea of what we have to do. We're going to give him a little break after [the Queens County], but it'll give us a little better idea whether we should keep him here or send him back to the farm."


Vyjack, the 5-2 morning-line favorite, drew post 4, with regular rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. taking the call.


Like clockwork, trainer David Jacobson will send out Stormin Monarcho, who is coming off consecutive stakes victories two weeks apart. The son of Monarchos took the Richard W. Small Stakes on November 15 at Laurel Park, then captured the Swatara Stakes on November 29 at Penn National.


Stormin Monarcho, who is five for 12 in 2014, will be ridden by Jevian Toledo from post 7. He sits at 3-1 on the morning line.


Jacobson will also be represented by Wealth to Me, who enters the Queens County off an even shorter layoff than his stablemate. In his most recent race, the 7-year-old gelding won an optional claimer by 2 ½ lengths on December 6 at Laurel.


Trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle a pair of horses in the Queens County, led by Mike Repole's Micromanage. Micromanage is coming off a distant 10th-place finish in the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap on turf, but has compiled a respectable resume on dirt in 2014, including wins in the Grade 3 Skip Away Handicap at Gulfstream Park and the Birdstone Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.


Pletcher's other runner, Percussion, has shown an affinity for the inner track in his 34-race career. Through 13 starts on the inner dirt, the 6-year-old gelding has two wins, six seconds, and two thirds to his credit.


Micromanage (7-2), who is coupled with Misconnect, will be ridden by Manuel Franco from post 6, while Percussion (15-1) drew post 8 with C.C. Lopez aboard.


Rounding out the field are Elnaawi, who won an optional claimer at Keeneland in his most recent start; Misconnect, a three-time winner owned by Repole; Plainview, seventh in the Swatara in his latest outing; Turco Bravo, a Chilean import that has made two North American starts; and Don Dulce, fourth in an off-the-turf optional claimer last out.


The field for the $100,000 Queens County:








Elnaawi (KY)

A S. Arroyo


K P. McLaughlin



Plainview (KY)

J Rose


G DiPrima



Don Dulce (KY)

F Jara


J Servis



Vyjack (KY)

I Ortiz, Jr.


R R. Rodriguez



Misconnect (KY)

D Davis


B N. Levine



Micromanage (KY)

M Franco


T A. Pletcher



Stormin Monarcho (KY)

J Toledo


D Jacobson



Percussion (KY)

C C. Lopez


T A. Pletcher



Turco Bravo (CHI)

J L. Ortiz


G C. Contessa



Wealth to Me (KY)

A Cruz


D Jacobson




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