06/04/2013 12:50PM

Belmont Stakes workouts: Giant Finish, Vyjack put in final works


ELMONT, N.Y. – After having their works postponed 24 hours by heavy showers here Monday, Vyjack and Giant Finish became the last two members of this year’s bulky Belmont Stakes field to turn in their final official trials following the renovation break Tuesday.

New York Racing Association officials would have loved to be able to bottle up Tuesday’s weather and save it for Saturday, with sunny skies, no humidity, and temperatures hovering around 60 degrees when training began at 5:30 a.m.

The main track still had a little moisture in it from the previous day’s rains and, despite drying out some as the morning progressed, was officially listed as “good” by the track’s clockers throughout the 4-1/2 hour session.

Tuesday at Belmont Park

59 degrees, sunny, good

Giant Finish (four furlongs in 49.02 seconds) –  The New York-bred was the first of the two Belmont workers to strike the track, breezing a relatively easy half-mile under jockey Edgar Prado. Giant Finish, who finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby, was reserved through an opening quarter-mile in 24.73.

Prado appeared to switch his stick from his right to his left hand as Giant Finish leaned in a bit and changed leads a little late at the head of the stretch. He finished willingly enough while getting a couple of light taps of encouragement from his rider from the eighth pole to the wire before galloping out five-eighths in 1:01.95. It was just an average, maintenance-type move for a 3-year-old who seems to be on the improve and whose action suggests he could have a future on turf.

[BELMONT STAKES: Probable field and latest updates]

Vyjack (five furlongs in 59.46) – One of the last workers of the morning, Vyjack, with trainer Rudy Rodriguez aboard, galloped near the inside fence for seven-eighths of a mile before breaking away at the five-furlong pole with his head cocked slightly outward, completing a leisurely opening eighth in 13.32 before picking up the pace through a quarter in 25.02.

Vyjack began to level off leaving the three-furlong marker, then was put to an all-out drive once settling into the stretch, completing a pressured final quarter in 23.32, then shutting down rather quickly after the wire, galloping out six panels in 1:13.86, and pulling up before completing seven furlongs.

Although he certainly finished with much more energy than in his final major move prior to the Derby, he did so under vigorous handling, and it was a little surprising to see such an aggressive move just five days out from the Belmont.

Preakness winner Oxbow was one of four horses whom trainer D. Wayne Lukas escorted to the track on his pony through the paddock tunnel early Tuesday, each member of the quartet jogging an easy 1 1/8 miles from the wire around to the gap located on the clubhouse turn.

Oxbow appeared to travel a lot more comfortably Tuesday than he did while jogging to warm up for his final Belmont breeze at Churchill Downs last Thursday, and it will be interesting to see how he handles the surface once allowed to stretch out and gallop here later in the week.

The same holds true for Will Take Charge, who preceded Oxbow and looked fine during his similarly orchestrated jog.

Orb gave every indication that he bounced out of his sharp half-mile work 48 hours earlier in good order. He, too, did no more than jog 1 1/8 miles alongside his stable pony but was on his toes and eager to do more in the cooler weather.

Freedom Child had another busy morning, jogging back to the six-furlong pole before turning around to gallop an easy 1 3/8 miles under exercise rider John Manson. Fitness should not be an issue Saturday for the Peter Pan winner.

Marc Estrich More than 1 year ago
Woody Stephens put a good stiff mile into C Cielo I think 6 days before his Belmont win.
Karla More than 1 year ago
Why is it no matter who the jockey is for Vyjack, only Rudy works him? I don't get it. Garrett Gomez went to Kentucky a week early just to get on him and never did until the race. Now for the Belmont he has another jockey, who, I guess, will never work him either. Maybe, Rudy Rod should just ride him for the race too, he might have a better chance of winning. Does anyone else find this odd?
LUCA More than 1 year ago
Rudy is the best rider to work horses out , this is why Bobby Frankel would have him work his best horses for big races. It also is a the reason why Rudys trained horses have a distinct advantage over other horses that don't have him on their back everyday.
Frank More than 1 year ago
for a big race like Belmont u have a point. Big advantage though when rider is also the trainer. Presumably the rider trainer knows exactly where the horse is at each step of the work and might actual monitor the performance better than the race jock. Depends on rider though. I find Vyjack's galloping a bit odd.
Tom Shea More than 1 year ago
my concern would be who was on his back but how hard he was worked so close to a 1-1/2 race ,, I was thinking of using him but now I'm concerned.
Chris Jones More than 1 year ago
He won't get 1.5 miles unless it is in the back of a truck.
Chad Wilson More than 1 year ago
I like Vyjack, but I am afraid if you drop him out of an airplane he will only fall 8 furlongs. The Derby Pace was suicidal, but Vyjack was the first to back out as I ripped up my ticket at the 1/2 mile pole. I think he could be a very solid miler.
Mike More than 1 year ago
It was just an average, maintenance-type move for a 3-year-old who seems to be on the improve and whose action suggests he could have a future on turf. Owner's don't seem to understand.............
JeanK More than 1 year ago
Freedom Child connections should be(am sure they are) aware that there is such a thing as over training a horse.He did look super in his last work. As for Vyjack I have rarely seen horses that perform well on the Aqueduct inner track do well at Belmont in a Grade I. Wrong horse in the wrong race, wasting away a good money earner in my humble opinion, stranger things have happened before. Not this time. Bulky field on a sloppy track(or so the weatherman says). Belmont slop not similar to Churchill slop. May the race be a safe one.
Claudia Monteverdi More than 1 year ago
Jean, your analysis appears to lead us to only one (unstated) conclusion: A 3 letter word?
Alex Sterioff More than 1 year ago
Yup. Thats why they are just jogging him fortunately for him his jogging speed is faster or just as fast then most of the horse in the racing running speed.
Tee Jay More than 1 year ago
Tom Fool won an overnight mile race on a Wednesday then won the Brooklyn on a Saturday. What the hell are you talking about? The old master horseman Preston Burch III said all horses should gallop at least 2 1/2 miles a day and be breezed every third day according to their physical size. He said big horses need more work than little ones. These guys today all train the same, all use the vets on race day and all say the same thing after a race. They got to where they got from tenure. If you worked for Lucas then you get some of Lucas's sponsors because Lucas doesn't want his protege to look bad along with him. Its nepotism that gets you the horses for the courses. Maybe this is why they all train the same; they all come out of the no-minded mentality, don't be different because no one likes a rogue horse or trainer. Now they all train the same and waste equal amounts of horseflesh with under-training and over-medicating.
Chris Jones More than 1 year ago
Hard Spun blew out 3f in 35secs on the Friday b4 the Derby. He still ran a nice 2nd leading till the stretch only to be run down by Street Sense. Each horse is different.
jeff More than 1 year ago
You make TJ's point, sans the overblown workout..wpulda been the dead winner that day.
Paul Szucs More than 1 year ago
I think and trust that Tom Albertrani is doing the right thing! First off,the horse is held in the gate, (wood memorial ) then,rank to catch the field ,before flattening. Then in the next race,(peter pan) he breaks slow (becaue he's still confused by the wood break) gets rushed up (again!), takes command,and draws off. You can see, that the horse is kind of high strung and wants to run all the time! I think galloping him 3 miles each time is going to get him in that " BELMONT" frame of mind! You can't just keep this horse in the barn or just walk him along the shedrow. They all thought Afleet Alex's trainer was wrong, galloping his horse 3m a day and he destroyed them in the Belmont! No worries for me here, can't wait for Saturday!