Many times when an owner starts calling the shots instead of the trainer things have a tendency of not working out that well. That was not the case on Saturday in the Grade 3 $400,00 Gotham.
David Wilkenfeld races under the colors of Pick Six Racing and owns Vyjack, who came into the Gotham on Saturday perfect in three trips under Cornelio Velasquez.
However, he thought a jockey change needed to be made to a rider that was less aggressive, and Velasquez lost the mount to Joel Rosario.
Vyjack was up on the pace in his first three starts, but on Saturday was tenth in the early going, came five wide into the stretch and ran down pacesetter and longshot West Hills Giant for the victory, stamping the colt as a major Kentucky Derby contender.
The colt went off as the second choice and returned $6.70 with the $2 exacta with the 33-1 longshot returning $223.00.
The victory was worth 50 points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series which virtually assures the gelding will get into the Derby field.
His trainer Rudy Rodriguez indicated the gelding will be pointed toward the Grade 1 $1 million Wood Memorial on April 6.
The Todd Pletcher trained Overanalyze was sent off as the 8-5 betting favorite but was not much of a threat in a fourth place finish.
We had several longshots on yesterday's card that ran very well at Aqueduct, but none of them got to the winner's circle.
In the second race Winning Gold was my top pick at 27-1 and made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot, unable to get to my third choice My Cousin Eddie, the $2 exacta paying $394.00 The longshot paid $20.00 to place.
In the sixth race my top pick as Jonrah, who was sent off at 25-1 and made a mild late run to check in third.
The toughest beat was Saturday's Charm, who was my top pick in the Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap. He was bet down from his 10-1 morning line to 9-1. He came with a six wide rally to collar the pacesetter Comma to the Top. He looked like a winner in deep stretch but Comma to the Top battled back gamely to edge him at the wire by a hard fought nose.
The duo did combine for a $2 recommended exacta that returned $51.50 and trifecta that paid $409.00, but the payoffs would have been more generous if those noses were reversed at the wire.
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Here is today's opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Md $25,000 (12:50 ET)
1 You Tarzan 7-2
4 Sun Catcher 3-1
6 Imaginary Island 5-2
5 G W's Hammer 6-1
Analysis: You Tarzan drops a notch in class after checking in fifth in his debut for the Servis barn that does not win first out often. The gelding tracked the early pace from the outside and did not have much left in the stretch. The winner and sixth place finisher in the race both exited the race to win next out. Servis is having a good meet here and hits at a 29% clip (with a +ROI) with second out maidens. The gelding has four sibs that are winners, top earner stakes placed Russian Sage ($146,536).
Sun Catcher makes his debut here for the Hushion barn that is 12% winners with first timers. The colt is by Sunriver out of an unraced El Gran Senor mare that has dropped six winners, top earner Volatile Vickie ($134,130). The colt should be fit and ready to go off works at Fair Hill and he debuts with lasix facing a modest group of state breds.
WIN: #1 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,4 / 1,4,5,6
TRI: 1,4 / 1,4,5,6 / 1,4,5,6,7
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 The Beru (4:22 ET)
3 Horsin' Around 6-1
5 Kelli Got Frosty 7-5
6 Let Me Entertain U 5-2
4 Grand Mere 5-1
Analysis: Horsin' Around stretches out to two turns for the first time here after checking in fourth last bout going 5 1/2 furlongs against Alw-1 optional claimers. The filly got bumped coming out of the gate, stalked the early pace and finished up well, beaten 1 3/4 lengths for the top spot. The runner up Hailey's Star came back to win her next two starts, both against Alw-1 optional claimers. The Hushion barn is 26% winners moving runners from sprint to route and this guy has enough pedigree to handle the extra ground.
Kelli Got Frosty prompted the early pace and was no match for the winner in a runner up finish in the Busher last out. This gal handled state bred stakes company twice and looks like a good fit in this spot outside the New York bred ranks but for runners without a win in an open stake. The barn is on a roll although the price here may end up on the light side on this filly.
WIN: #3 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 3,5 / 3,4,5,6
TRI: 3,5 / 3,4,5,6 / 1,3,4,5,6
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Gulfstream Park:
GP Race 10 The Palm Beach G3 (5:35 ET)
9 Charming Kitten 8-5
7 Quinzieme Monarque 8-1
5 Rydilluc 4-1
10 Holiday Star 12-1
Analysis: Charming Kitten is coming off a game victory in the Kitten's Joy last out here. The colt tracked the early pace, battled on in the stretch and proved best late to win by a length as the chalk. The fifth place finisher Fire Guard came out of the race to win a first level optional claimer in impressive fashion on Feb. 9 here. Two back our top pick made his three year old debut in the Dania Beach, making a good late rally but coming up a half-length short of the winner Mystic Love. The fourth place finisher in that race as Itsmyluckyday, who won the Gulfstream park Derby and the Holy Bull (G3) in his next two starts. The Pletcher runner looks primed for a top effort third off the bench here. He has a couple of sibs that are also grass winners including stakes winner Queen'splatekitten ($387,313).
Quinzieme Monarque was a good looking maiden winner three back in September on the grass at Belmont Park, and then made a mild late run to finish fourth over yielding footing in the Pilgrim (G3) in his first go against winners. Last out he was outrun early and never a threat ton dirt in the Remsen (G2). He is back on turf here and sports a couple of solid looking works for his first go off a three month break. He is worth tossing in the mix here if he goes off near his 10-1 morning line.
Rydilluc prompted the early pace and drew off smartly late to beat Alw-1 optional claimers last out in his first start against winners and is perfect in two trips over turf. The runner up in the race was Hansel Tazwell, who came back to beat starter optional claimers in his next outing. This guy looks better with each start and looks as if he fits well here in his stakes debut. He is out of the stakes winner Swift and Classy ($61,770) who has dropped four other winners including stakes winner Gold Wonder ($188,878).
WIN: #9 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 7,9 / 5,7,9,10
TRI: 7,9 / 5,7,9,10 / 4,5,7,9,10
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.
R2: #2 Fortitude 20-1
R3: #7 Imanativenewyorker 8-1
R4: #2 Primal Gold 12-1
R5: #6 Writingonthewall 8-1
R6: #2 Awesome Island 12-1
R7: #9 Hopskirt 10-1
R9: #11 Galaxy Gal 8-1
Good luck today!