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Vyjack wins the Big A's Gotham Stakes

NEW YORK (AP) - Vyjack remained unbeaten on his way to the Kentucky Derby, rallying for a 21/4 length victory in the $400,000 Gotham Stakes for 3-year-olds on Saturday at Aqueduct.

The gelding trained by Rudy Rodriguez is now 4 for 4, all at Aqueduct. The Gotham victory was worth 50 qualifying points for the Derby.

"We thought maybe this horse could take us there," Rodriguez said. "So far, he's proven he belongs with this kind. Hopefully, he can keep going."

Joel Rosario was aboard as the 2-1 second choice ran the 1 1-16 miles in 1:44.09, paying $6.70, $4.20 and $3.20.

West Hills Giant set the pace at 33-1 and held on for second with Elnaawi third.

It appeared West Hills Giant would pull off a stunner at the top of the lane until Vyjack, far back most of the race, looped the field and stormed down the center of the track.

The tactics were surprising in that Vyjack raced close to the leaders in his three prior victories.

"I just let him do whatever he wanted to do," said Rosario, who was aboard for the first time. "Turning for home I was pretty far behind, but that's where he wanted to be. He passed West Hills Giant and then he just kept on going."

Owner David Wilkenfeld said Vyjack will make one more start before the Derby, Aqueduct's Wood Memorial on April 6.

West Hills Giant paid $21.20 and $12.20, surviving a claim of foul by Channing Hill, the rider on third-place finisher Elnaawi, who returned $6.40 to show.

The biggest disappointment was the fifth-place finish by Overanalyze, the 8-5 favorite. Making his first start since winning the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct in November, Overanalyze raced close to the pace but lacked a finishing punch in the stretch.

"I was where I wanted to be, perfect position, nice pace," jockey John Velazquez said. "He didn't come up with any run at all."

In the earlier stakes, Comma to the Top edged Saturday's Charm by a nose in the $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap. Rosario was also aboard as he won two stakes on the day. Peter Miller trained the 5-year-old gelding who won for the 12th time in 28 races. The 2-1 favorite paid $6.30 to win. The time was 1:10.26 for the six furlongs.

Summer Applause, the 6-5 favorite, beat Twice The Lady by 23/4 lengths in the Top Flight Handicap for fillies and mares. Velazquez rode for trainer Chad Brown as the 4-year-old improved to 4 for 9, paying $4.60 to win.

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Mike Dempsey Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders' Cup.
The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes.

Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick.

Mike also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively.

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Jerry Sessa Jerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins.
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In the 2015 Belmont Stakes Jerry dominated races 8-11 by hitting a $4,400 Pick 4, 3 Daily Doubles, 2 Pick 3's and calling American Pharoah as the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.

Jerry is always looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.

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