Vyjack captures City of Hope Mile in record time
Vyjack settled in midpack on the inside as even-money favorite Obviously carved out early fractions of :43.97, 1:07.86 and 1:19.72 after dueling through the opening turn for the lead. Prat angled Vyjack out heading into the second turn, and the Into Mischief gelding took off after Obviously.
Om also kicked into gear, and the pair converged upon Obviously. Vyjack grabbed the advantage first and refused to yield to Om, finishing eight furlongs over the firm turf in a track-record setting 1:31.69.
Campaigned by David Wilkenfeld’s Pick Six Racing, Vyjack paid $10.60 for the win. Om was game in defeat, a half-length up on Obviously, who in turn had 5 1/4 lengths to spare on fourth-place finisher Perfectly Majestic.
Hootenanny followed in fifth while Patriots Rule, Express Himself, St. Joe Bay, Ed Johnson and Frank Conversation completed the order under the wire.
Vyjack earned his first win in this spot since taking an allowance at Keeneland in the spring. The last stakes score for the Philip D’Amato trainee came in 2014 via the Kelso Handicap (G2), and he also boasts victories in the 2012 Traskwood Stakes and 2013 editions of the Jerome Stakes (G2) and Gotham Stakes (G3).
The six-year-old bay shows seven stakes placings on his resume, which now stands at 27-8-4-3, $1,321,900. Among those placings are the Pat O’Brien Stakes (G2) and Red Bank Stakes (G3) from this season.
Bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall, Vyjack is out of the Stravinsky mare Life Happened, making him a half-brother to champion Tepin, who had an eight-race win streak snapped when second earlier on Saturday in the First Lady Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.
The talented duo’s female family also boasts 1997 champion sprinter and sire Smoke Glacken.
Vyjack photo courtesy of Benoit Photos