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Aqueduct notes: Vyjack looks headed to Jerome
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – After recording two solid victories sprinting, Vyjack will likely be given the chance to stretch out around two turns in the Grade 2, $200,000 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct on Jan. 5, trainer Rudy Rodriguez said Monday.
Vyjack, a son of the Grade 1-winning stallion Into Mischief, won the Traskwood Stakes by 5 3/4 lengths in the slop here Sunday. Though he only beat three rivals, Vyjack covered seven furlongs over a sloppy track in 1:24.38 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 96. In November, he won a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race over the main track by 1 3/4 lengths, earning a Beyer of 88.
Rodriguez said the gelding’s success has not surprised him, and he expects improvement once the horse settles down mentally.
“He’s a little mental, but he’s a nice horse,” Rodriguez said. “He doesn’t want to do what you want him to do – sometimes he wants to put on the brakes. You got to work with him. So far in his races, he’s been very good. Hopefully, he keeps improving, but he’s a very nice horse.”
Rodriguez said he would like to keep Vyjack in New York to run in the 3-year-old stakes races offered at Aqueduct in the winter.
“I would like to stay here if the owner doesn’t put too much pressure on me,” said Rodriguez, who does have stalls at Palm Meadows in south Florida.
Rodriguez also has a nice New York-bred juvenile filly in Kelli Got Frosty, who won Sunday’s $80,000 East View Stakes by 9 1/2 lengths. She ran a mile in 1:39.19 – .51 of a second faster than Smooth Bert ran winning the Damon Runyon for males – and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 80.
It was the third win from five starts for Kelli Got Frosty, owned by a group that includes Andrew Cohen, Lee Sacks, Aubrey Flanagan, and Gary Tolchin.
Rodriguez said that he would probably back off on Kelli Got Frosty for two months before gearing up for her 3-year-old campaign.
“She ran every race. I don’t think we need to push it,” Rodriguez said. “She’s got a long year ahead of her.”
Rodriguez said he would look to stretch Kelli Got Frosty out in distance in 2013.
“I think the mile and an eighth is probably what she’s looking for,” Rodriguez said. “She shows us in the morning. She’s aggressive, she wants to do more.”
Ness looking for New York success
Trainer Jamie Ness has conquered Tampa and most of the Mid-Atlantic region en route to being the leading trainer in wins with 378. This winter, he is hoping to make an imprint in New York.
Ness will have a small string of horses based at New York for the winter for Midwest Thoroughbreds, the leading owner in the country.
Ness said he has 14 stalls at Belmont, but has nine horses here now after several have been claimed from him.
Ness came to New York during the summer after Midwest and its previous trainer, Brad Cox, parted ways. Ness went 2 for 11 at Saratoga and 1 for 10 at Belmont. So far, Ness is 1 for 11 at Aqueduct with two seconds and two thirds.
“If we’re not winning, we’re running second or third,” Ness said from Tampa, where he has the bulk of his string. “The quality of my stable is not real high up there right now. We’ll definitely improve. We’ll baby-step our way along.”
Ness said he has attempted to do some claiming in New York, but more often than not has gotten outshaken.
“The ones we like are the ones everybody else likes,” said Ness, whose New York string will be run by Laura Perillo.
Ness has a nice New York-bred filly named L B’s Expression, who ran second in a first-level statebred allowance race here Nov. 30.
“I have a couple of other young New York-breds that look like they could be okay,” Ness said. “I’ll train them down here and send them up there when they’re ready.”
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