Vyjack and Verrazano vie in Wood Memorial


Waiting to take on the undefeated Verrazano is Rudy Rodriguez’s undefeated Vyjack, with a morning line of 4-1. This son of Into Mischief has only one more race under his belt than Verrazano, but three of those are stakes and two of the stakes were graded—the Jerome (G2) and the Gotham (G3). Vyjack hasn’t hit but one three-digit Brisnet speed figure, but Aqueduct is his home track where he’s been waiting patiently since winning the 1 1/16 mile Gotham Mar. 2.

“I go into every race with the expectation that we can win,” said owner David Wilkenfeld of Pick Six Racing. “This race is no different. The horse is very fit. I’m not looking at this really as a prep race. He’s a very durable horse. We gave him time between the Jerome and the Gotham. I think the Gotham was a really good learning experience for the horse. He’s worked terrifically in between since that race and we’re expecting him to run well. I don’t think the distance is going to be a problem, and we really have—if we don’t win, we have no excuse except that we’re beaten by a horse than ran faster than us.”

Normandy Invasion, at odds of 5-1, is back for his second start of the year. This Chad Brown runner was hyped early in the year, but floundered in his debut in the Risen Star Stakes Feb. 23. One might excuse the fifth-place finish for the poor start and traffic issues and note that he only lost by 1 ½ lengths. However, two of those that beat him—Code West and Palace Malice—returned in last week’s Louisiana Derby and finished sixth and seventh, respectively. Normandy Invasion may turn out to be a nice horse, but until he comes back to his two-year-old form, he’s not beating this field.

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