OCEANPORT, NJ – Daniel Ryan’s Vanzzy took command at the top of the stretch and drew off strongly along the rail to conquer Sunday’s $100,000 Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park.
Vanzzy was the 5/2 second choice under Paco Lopez when he broke from post 4 and stalked along the rail behind early leader Island Commish.
Near the far turn’s exit, Island Commish drifted out enough to create an opening for the patient Vanzzy to run through. Clearing off easily at the top of the stretch, Vanzzy crossed 3 1/2 lengths the best.
The Mike Pino trainee completed the 1 1/16-mile firm turf event in a final time of 1:42.30.
“I think you can say that was a perfect trip for this horse,” Lopez said. “Mike left it up to me, but he said this horse can be on the lead if you need him to be. The turf course isn’t really fast. It’s a little soft. I was just so comfortable with him being on the rail and following horses. I just had to wait for the chance to move. You have to make a split-second decision coming out of the turn. Sometimes the rail is open, sometimes it’s not. This time it was open for me so I took it. He really responded when he got through and was able to run.
Bye Bye Melvin took second as the 37/1 longest shot on the board, while the 2/1 favorite Irish Mias just necked out Plot the Dots for third.
Island Commish, Talking, and Dante’s Fire completed the order of finish. Embolden was scratched.
Vanzzy’s win was his second of the year following the Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park on March 14. The 3-year-old Verrazano colt improved his overall record to 9-4-1-1 with $232,726 earned.
“A perfect trip, a great ride by Paco,” Pino said. “This horse needs that kind of trip. He’s a little antsy early. I was real happy with the ride, real happy with the trip, and he punched away like he’s getting better. This was his best race yet. You can see he is getting better with each race, especially when we can get him to settle like we did.”
Vanzzy returned $7.20 to win, $4.40 to place, and $2.80 to show. Bye Bye Melvin brought back $22.20 to place and $9 to show, while Irish Mias paid $2.60 to show.