06/04/2013 11:50AM

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.