If his recent morning works are any indication, multiple graded stakes winner Vyjack could be a handful in his next start.
The 4-year-old Into Mischief gelding is being pointed to the $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt (gr. I) Aug. 2 at the Spa.
Vyjack has fired consecutive bullet works since arriving at Saratoga Race Course for the summer, including a half mile in :47.18 July 18, the fastest of 75 horses. In his latest work July 25, he breezed five furlongs in :59.03 under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., ranking first of 31 horses.
He was last seen being eased in the 1 1/4-mile Suburban Handicap (gr. II) July 5.
The Vanderbilt will mark Vyjack's fourth time sprinting in 12 career starts and his first attempt at six furlongs. He opened his career for Pick Six Racing in the fall of 2012 with victories at 6 1/2 and seven furlongs, and began the 2014 campaign April 27 with a seven-furlong optional claiming triumph at Aqueduct Racetrack.
"We're going to shorten him up and, hopefully, that works for us," trainer Rudy Rodriguez said. "We don't lose anything by trying.
"We put him in company," Rodriguez said of the Saratoga works. "We've been running long, so we tried to sharpen him up a little bit. Hopefully we can come back and give him another nice three-eighths. I'm trying to work like (Hall of Fame trainer Bob) Baffert now. Hopefully, it works."
Vyjack opened his sophomore season in 2013 by winning the Jerome Stakes (gr. II) and Gotham (gr. III) before running a narrow third in the Wood Memorial (gr. I). Failed attempts in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Belmont Stakes (gr. I), and Haskell Invitational (gr. I) followed.
He then was sent to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's New Bolton Center, where he was diagnosed with gastric ulcers. He spent much of the time from last August to mid-March of this year rehabbing at Fair Hill Training Center near Elkton, Md., before returning to training with Rodriguez.
"He's got a lot of talent, for sure," Rodriguez said. "We checked him out up and down. We brought a couple of doctors in here and everything was good. He's doing very good; we're just disappointed in the way he's running.
"It was a no-brainer. It's not working out going long. If he runs good, there's time to get him back for the end of the meet (in the grade I Forego Aug. 30). We're trying, because he's working very, very good."