Vyjack's track-record performance in the $200,000 City of Hope Mile (G2) at Santa Anita Park capped off a spectacular Saturday for Into Mischief that was kicked off with the undefeated Practical Joke winning the Champagne S. (G1) at Belmont Park.
Vyjack, who has competed against the best of his generation over the past three years, is now a four-time graded stakes winner with earnings of $1,321,900 for David Wilkenfeld's Pick Six Racing.
The City of Hope quickly turned into a torrid pace duel when Frank Conversation and St. Joe Bay rocketed to the front, soon to be joined by post time favorite Obviously (IRE). The trio zipped through a quarter-mile in :21.40 and the half-mile in a lightning-quick :43.97.
The longshots began to fade while Obviously rolled through six furlongs in 1:07.86. Vyjack, well back early, gained ground on the final turn and was in high gear in the stretch, reeling in Obviously and Om in the final sixteenth, winning by a head in 1:31.69.
“With the fast pace I knew I would be farther back but it was fast enough and we fought,” said winning jockey Flavien Prat. “There were some good horses in here and to catch those types of horses you’ve got to be good and you’ve got to be brave. I knew I was able to put up a fight but when you’re racing horses that are good, you never know for sure if you’ll beat them.”
“The original plan was the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) for Vyjack, but with the way he ran today, we’ll see,” added trainer Phil D'Amato. “The turf milers here have such tremendous turn of foot and Vyjack showed that today and it set up for him. He trains just as well on the main track here at Santa Anita too so we have a couple of options to look at and think about.”
Vyjack was bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall and is a half-brother to the $4 million earner Tepin, who he could face in the Breeders' Cup, if D'Amato choose to run in the Mile on the turf.