03/22/2013 2:57PM

Wood Memorial: Vyjack sizzles in Aqueduct workout


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Maybe it was a result of being matched up with a graded stakes-winning sprinter. Maybe it was the result of his connections wanting to do a little more with him. Or maybe it was simply a result of just how good Vyjack is doing right now.

Whatever it was, Vyjack, the undefeated 3-year-old, turned in a sensational five-furlong workout Friday morning at Aqueduct in preparation for a start in the $1 million Wood Memorial here on April 6.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Working in company for the first time with Head Heart Hoof, a 7-year-old New York-bred who has won 18 races, including the Grade 3 Toboggan, Vyjack drilled five furlongs in 59.07 seconds, getting his final quarter in a sharp 22.84. Vyjack, coming off a 2 1/4-length victory in the Grade 3 Gotham on March 2, typically doesn’t work fast, having never broken a minute in any of his previous five-furlong works.

“It was time to do something and he did,” Gustavo Rodriguez, aboard for the work, said.

Vyjack began the move two lengths behind Head Heart Hoof and finished a half-length in front at the wire before pulling away during the gallop out. Vyjack galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.37 and pulled up seven furlongs in 1:27.84.

Head Heart Hoof, third in the Grade 3 Tom Fool on March 2, was credited with a time of 59.72 seconds. He is entered in a starter handicap here next Thursday.

Gustavo Rodriguez, who is running the stable while his brother Rudy serves a 20-day suspension, was the one who decided to match Vyjack with Head Heart Hoof, wanting Vyjack to get something out of the move. Last week, Vyjack worked an easy half-mile in 51.23 seconds.

“He worked with other horses. Nobody can keep up with him,” Rodriguez said of Vyjack. “I thought it was going to be a good match for him to do a little something.”

Rodriguez did urge Vyjack to get past the veteran Head Heart Hoof but he was far from having to go all out.

“I was just chasing the other one. Turning for home I asked him for a little bit and he responded nice,” Rodriguez said. “And he galloped nice, beautiful, strong.”

David Wilkenfeld, who owns Vyjack under the moniker Pick Six Racing, watched the workout from the Aqueduct press box and liked what he saw.

“Usually after the work he waits on the other horse,” Wilkenfeld said. “It look liked today he kept going. They had [the last quarter] in 22-and-change. That’s really nice to see.”

Rodriguez said that Vyjack would likely have one more work before the Wood, a race that is expected to include the undefeated and early Derby favorite Verrazano. Others pointing to the race include Gotham second- and third-place finishers West Hills Giant and Elnaawi, Remsen runner-up Normandy Invasion,  Always in a Tiz, Mr Palmer, Indy’s Illusion, Quinzieme Monarque, and possibly Siete de Oros.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No cheating involved here you don't know what you are talking about . I see it every day a horse wins that you don't have and you proclaim cheaters. Learn how to pick winners and you will love to bet trainers like Rudy, Rick D ,Steve A , Ness and all the others that are crucified in these blogs When a trainer gives a horse aspirin is that cheating? This game is not crooked like wall street those people go to jail. Jb
mikey J More than 1 year ago
This has nothing directly to do with the Rodriguez's but the industry as a whole. If you don't mind continue too bet your hard earned money on horse who are being influenced by chemicals. I for one love the game of horseracing but have been forced to bet less and less because you can tactically get away with murder and continue to trainhorse with a simpe slap on the wrist. The penalties need to bemore severe to insure the integrety of the game.....
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
i understand mike.i have been a player for a long time.when i bet my hard earned money,i take all aspects into consideration.it may sound funny,but sometimes when betting you almost like the so called "juicers" by that i mean that you at least know they are going to run.from a racing standpoint it sucks.i agree wit you.whether it be rudy,plether o'neill ,assmussen or anyone.if they get caught with dangerous drugs .toss them out on their butts.they not only harm the horses,but can harm the jocks.the blame comes from a lot of greedy owners.when something goes wrong,they all care about the welfare of the horse first.yt these are the guys that allow their trainers to sometimes run their horse on almost aweekly basis.bottom line ,hen money is involved.the integrity of the sport would always be questioned.imagine if sports betting were legal.an example would be .50,000 fans at yankee stadium.35,000 bet the yanks.jeter makes an easy error in the 9th.2 runs score yanks lose.imagine the blogs the next day. JETER IS A CROOK.all part of gambling.if money wee not involved.none of us would really be following racing.at least i know i would not
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
so you don't think people bet on baseball?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think Pete Rose Did what happened to him and he never was found guilty of cheating.
William Eisele More than 1 year ago
whats with all the hate towards the Rodriquez brothers? they get up every morning @ 4 a.m. 7 days a wk, ,no vacations ,no overtime,came up under one of the best horseman ever in dickie dutrow & learned there lessons well, now cause there winning races & being successful the jealousy raises it's ugly head. day in ,day out overages are bound to happen,horses are atheletes, therapeutic meds like robaxin & bute sometimes stay longer in a horses system , or perhaps even innocent mixups can happen, but most people that aren't horseman don't understand this & just shoot from the hip.... viva la rudy!!!!!!!!!!
robert More than 1 year ago
This has nothing to do with getting up at 4 in the morning, 7 days a week, no vacations, or therapetic drugs like bute , clenbutarol, robaxin, blah, blah, blah, ALL HORSEMAN DO IT!. The problem is as with his mentor they are fooling with the blood of the horse, similar to say Lance Armstriong. That is why they can win at the obsene percentages and move every horse "up" as far as figures go.
William Eisele More than 1 year ago
first of all I can tell in 2 seconds your not a horseman,so like I said "your shooting from the hip", hey you don't like they guy don't bet his horse's.............
robert More than 1 year ago
Willliam, just for the record i am a horseman, know the rodriguez brothers and know a little more than you think, anytime you want me to take a quiz, i will. i dont like cheaters its that simple.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bull Crap If this was true You would be a top trainer. J
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
mikey rudy was suspended.do you know the scrutiny his barn must be under.the gov and his merry men would love nothing more than to nail them.so please tell me and everyone else.how is gustavo now cheating.i know he has mr gazoo from the old cartoon series . he slips the juice into the horses when everybody is looking at the trainer.let me ask you 1 question.why do you not say that horses like curlin and rachel alexandra were not juiced up freaks.after all steve was suspended for 6 months.it is just funny how selective you are in pointing the finger.
JOHN More than 1 year ago
Why do you blow up the message board on every article written about Vyjack??? Yeah we get it, you know owner. Nobody cares... go away bro
JOHN More than 1 year ago
I am as big of a fan of this horse as anyone. He is the best 3yo on the trail, and if he can make the gate, will win the Derby. No need to defend every negative comment of every article like you're the Vyjack police
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
not defending the horse or my friend.i got to know rudy,i also personally know many other trainers.if the public actually had a clue of how hard these guys work,they would not be csting stones.what ticks me off is that when all of the high profile trainers get caught.there had to be a mistake.a guy like rudy admits to using it,maybe in error on timing.yet,the floodgates open up.not only in racing,but in life.everyone tries to get an edge.either group them all together or stop with the mud slinging.selective fingerpointing sucks.as far as vyjack goes genius.has nothing to do with my friend owning the horse.it is the B.S trashing that he has not faced anyone,or he is trained by rudy.maybe he never ran outside of N.Y. who gives a bleep.he has done everything asked of him.give the horse the due credit he desrves.i do not mean you.i mean the geniuses who know it all before the fact.then are the first on line in the rooting section
Mark More than 1 year ago
Three words Let It Go
Joseph Donato More than 1 year ago
there is no one close to vyjack and verrazano right now. lets hope they both make the derby. vyjack has already shown his versatility and to some extent verrazano.forget these midwest and california horses this year. its going to be like 2003 kentucky derby with funnycide and empire maker, two predominately east coast horses. you throw in itsmyuckyday also.
Leslie Burke Fernandes More than 1 year ago
shaping up to be a very nice race
mikey J More than 1 year ago
Nice that Rudy gets days and it has no effect at all on the barn. So let the cheating continue while the gambler continues to get taken to the cleaners. No wonder interest in paramutuel gambling is waning. When trainers are caught cheating it is business as usual around the barn. Hey why not cheat??? With the purses in NY the waythey are now it only makes sense. I guess he didn't learn anything from his buddy R. Dutrow getting ruled off. What is it going to take to rid this game of the cheaters and the unfair playing field the modern day gambler is asked to endure.....
robert More than 1 year ago
There is no effect on the barn because these guys are not trainers, they are chemists that have deep pocked owners who support cheating.
Joseph Donato More than 1 year ago
you have to learn to accept it or dont play the horses. all these trainers are doing something that could be considered cheating. its the way of the land.
robert More than 1 year ago
Joe, I dont play the horses and do not believe all trainers are doing some sort of cheating otherwise we would have all trainers knocking them down at 30 plus percent. The problem I have is a former second rate rider and now his brother are making the truly great trainers and former trainers look stupid because they know how to beat the spit box.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't believe Rudy cheats he is a real horseman who works hard every day and has a program to get his horses in shape to run a winning race .How else could he get good horses Jbeau
robert More than 1 year ago
The way gustavo is knocking them down dead at aqueduct, it seems that both of the rodriguez brothers have that "magic" touch to training a thoroughbred. Who would have thought it was that easy! These guys are making a mockery of this sport and have to be shut down. When will they adopt a test that catches these guys.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
when you get out of bed at 10 am you miss out on what goes on . these guys work hard and it pays off.
Kevin Mudgett More than 1 year ago
nice work but the other v horse will pass him in the strech
Eric More than 1 year ago
Is it my imagination or does the rider of the grey horse look like he weighs about 200 pounds?
Rickey Cooper More than 1 year ago
It looks like Larry Jones.Whats he doing in New York.lol
Howard Chinchuck More than 1 year ago
looks like about 165 lbs to me.