01/06/2013 12:37PM

Aqueduct: Vyjack will likely await Gotham in March

Michael Amoruso
Vyjack earned a 90 Beyer Speed Figure for his narrow victory in Saturday's Jerome at Aqueduct.

Vyjack came out of his hard-fought head victory over longshot Siete de Oros in Saturday’s Grade 2 Jerome Stakes in good order, according to trainer Rudy Rodriguez, but the undefeated gelding will likely not run again until the Grade 3, $400,000 Gotham Stakes on March 2 at Aqueduct.

In winning the $200,000 Jerome, Vyjack won for the third time in as many career starts, all coming in a 67-day period.

 “We ran him three times in a short period. I talked to the owner before the race and we really liked this horse and will try to do the right thing by him,” Rodriguez said Sunday prior to getting on a flight headed to south Florida, where he has several horses stabled, including the 3-year-old filly My Happy Face. “We got all year.”

While most people with an undefeated 3-year-old this time of year have their sights set on the Kentucky Derby, Rodriguez said he is taking a wait-and-see approach. Vyjack will have to earn qualifying points in races such as the Gotham and Grade 1 Wood Memorial on April 6 to get into the field. The Jerome did not offer any qualifying points for the Derby, which is employing a new system this year.

“No, not yet,” Rodriguez said when asked if he was thinking about the Derby. “When the Gotham comes up hopefully, he runs his race. Hopefully, he can get lucky again. It’s a long way. There are a lot of nice horses out there. I believe he can compete with them but we got to get a little better.”

Rodriguez said he would like to see Vyjack relax a little more in his races. In the Jerome, his first race around two turns, Vyjack was on the muscle and did attempt to bear out during the running of the race, according to jockey Cornelio Velasquez.

 “I would like to get him to relax a little better,” Rodriguez said. “In the morning he shows he can place himself wherever you want to place him. He saw the opening yesterday and wants to be a fighter.”

Vyjack ran a mile and 70 yards in the Jerome in 1:40.67 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 90.

Ramon Preciado, the owner and trainer of Siete de Oros said Sunday he was “very happy but a little disappointed” with his gelding’s runner-up finish.

Preciado said he thought the addition of blinkers did help Siete de Oros focus better. He noted that in winning a first-level allowance race at Parx on Nov. 3 Siete de Oros “was all over the place.”

Preciado had to make a rider switch from Angel Arroyo to Maria Remedio because Arroyo got stuck in Panama due to visa issues. Preciado said he wasn’t sure who would ride the gelding back in his next start which would likely come in the Grade 3, $200,000 Withers Stakes here on Feb. 2.

“Maria rode a really good race. She probably does,” said Preciado when asked who will ride Vyjack next time.  “We’ll see. I want to see what’s going on.”