Sunday, July 28, 2013
Verrazano simply brilliant in $1 million Haskell record-setting performance
More Than Ready's star 3-year-old Verrazano rolled to a decisive victory in the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park on Sunday, winning by a Haskell best-ever 9 3/4-lengths.
In becoming the seventh career millionaire for More Than Ready, Verrazano also sped the highest Beyer Speed Figure of any 3-year-old this season - 116. Owned by the partnership of Let’s Go Stable, Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith, Verrazano gave trainer Todd Pletcher his third Haskell score and jockey John Velazquez his second win in Monmouth's signature feature.
The bay colt out of the Giant's Causeway mare Enchanted Rock won his sixth race in seven lifetime starts. The winner’s share of $600,000 pushed his lifetime bankroll to $1,551,300, all earned this season.
“He made a huge statement today,” Pletcher said. “This was one of the most impressive – if not the most impressive – races by any 3-year-old this year. I would say this was his most impressive race for a horse that’s near perfect minus the sloppy race in the Kentucky Derby.
“The plan all along was to run in the Haskell, and if he showed he could handle distances of a mile and an eighth plus, the Travers (G1, Aug. 24 at Saratoga) would be a logical next spot,” Pletcher continued. “The way he finished today over a track that’s been deep and demanding all week with his ears pricked at the wire showed he handled it pretty well.”
Added rider John Velazquez: “He was going so well down the backstretch I knew I had a lot of horse. When I asked him, he just took off.”
Verrazano's big payday vaulted More Than Ready into the top 10 on the General Sires list, with over $4.6 million in progeny earnings. Verrazano - whose 2013 victories include the Wood Memorial (G1), Tampa Bay Derby (G2), and Pegasus S. (G3) - is one of five North American stakes winners this season for his sire.