Verrazano toys with competition in Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby
Saturday, March 09, 2013
Verrazano's stakes debut in Saturday's $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby had his competition raving after the dominating win by the 3-year-old More Than Ready colt, who is undefeated in three starts.

“Todd’s (trainer Pletcher) horse is a freak,” said Ken McPeek, trainer of Tampa Bay Derby runner-up Java's War.

Verrazano is More Than Ready's leading earner of 2013, helping propel his sire into the top 15 on this year's General Sire list. Verrazano broke his maiden by 7 3/4-lengths New Year's Day at Gulfstream Park, then came back a month later for an eye-popping 16 1/4-length score over the same surface

Despite stumbling slightly at the break, Verrazano was just a length off the lead after a quarter mile, then put himself in front for good entering the backstretch. Jockey John Velazquez gave the flashy bay a nudge on the second turn, and Verrazano sprinted clear with ease, galloping home a three length winner in 1:43.96 for the 1 1/16-miles. He earned a 101 Beyer Speed Figure, his second straight triple-digit number.

Verrazano, who is owned by the Let’s Go Stable syndicate headed by Bryan Sullivan and Kevin Scatuorchio and the Coolmore entity of Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Susan Magnier, earned 50 points toward qualifying for a spot in the May 4 Kentucky Derby (G1).

“He has had some freakishly good performances and some of the things he does in the morning in his training, we don’t see too often,” he said.

“Today was a good performance. He is a lot like his sire, More Than Ready (who Pletcher also trained); he has a great disposition and a great mind. You always worry about the variables – his first time shipping to a new place, the first time around two turns, the first time in a stakes. So we had a lot of variables he hadn’t seen before and he seemed to handle them real well.

“We were a little unsure of what the pace scenario would be. You had horses with speed coming out of other races and ideally we wanted to stalk someone, but he is so naturally fast for a big horse, there wasn’t enough pace to get behind too many horses,” Pletcher said.

“He stumbled a little bit leaving the gate, but he seemed to recover quickly and put himself in a good spot. Once John got him to the middle of the track and got him to settle, it looked like he was very relaxed throughout. When he made the lead, he kind of pricked his ears like he tends to do and seemed like he was waiting a little on the competition.”

Pletcher said Verrazano’s next start would be the March 30 Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1), the April 6 Wood Memorial (G1) or the April 13 Arkansas Derby (G1).

“The way he has finished his mile and mile-and-a-sixteenth races, I don’t see another sixteenth being much of an issue. To come here and get 50 Kentucky Derby points, everyone can take a deep breath and see what happens next.”

“If you’re a fan of horse racing, you’ve got to love this horse,” Scatuorchio said. “He’s amazing.”

“It’s always nerve-wracking when you’re a (2-5) favorite, but he validated everyone’s expectations,” Sullivan said. “We’re excited and we’re looking forward to his next race.”

Bred in Kentucky by Emory Hamilton, Verrazano is a half-brother to Risen Star S. (G2) winner El Padrino, out of Enchanted Rock, whose siblings include Grade 2 winners Waldoboro and Tara Roma.
Visit More Than Ready's Page More Than Ready
Strong OBS 2yo numbers for Hold Me Back
Hold Me Back

Strong OBS 2yo numbers for Hold Me Back

Hold Me Back, whose first foals are 3-year-olds of 2015, had a pair of 2-year-old fillies bring six figures during Thursday’s third session of the April 21-24 OBS Spring Sale...

[read more]

Consumer Credit battles to victory in Memories of Silver S.
More Than Ready

Consumer Credit battles to victory in Memories of Silver S.

More Than Ready’s Grade 3 winner Consumer Credit notched her third career stakes win in the $100,000 Memories of Silver S. at Aqueduct...

[read more]

Drosselmeyer juvenile brings $140,000 at OBS

Drosselmeyer juvenile brings $140,000 at OBS

After working a spectacular quarter in :21.1 on April 13th, a colt from the first crop by Drosselmeyer sold for $140,000 on April 21st, opening day of the OBS Spring Sale...

[read more]

More Than Ready sires top filly opening day at OBS

More Than Ready sires top filly opening day at OBS

A lovely daughter of More Than Ready achieved the highest price for a filly on Day One of the OBS Spring Sale, selling for $250,000 midway through the session...

[read more]

Pioneerof the Nile sires #2 Juvenile Day One at OBS

Pioneerof the Nile sires #2 Juvenile Day One at OBS

Pioneerof the Nile sired the second high-priced juvenile opening day at the OBS Spring Sale, when hip 273 sold for $270,000...

[read more]

WinStar acquires minority interest in Upstart

WinStar acquires minority interest in Upstart

WinStar Farm has acquired a minority interest in Kentucky Derby (G1) contender Upstart, winner of the Holy Bull S. (G2) and runner-up in the Florida Derby (G1) and Fountain of Youth S. (G2) this winter at Gulfstream...

[read more]

Dramedy provides huge thrill in Elkhorn S. (G2)
Distorted Humor

Dramedy provides huge thrill in Elkhorn S. (G2)

Distorted Humor’s Dramedy put away My Afleet following an early duel and then held off a furious charge from several challengers in deep stretch to win the $250,000 Elkhorn S. (G2)...

[read more]

Stonestreet & WinStar launch Derby website for Carpe Diem

Stonestreet & WinStar launch Derby website for Carpe Diem

Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stables and Kenny & Lisa Troutt’s WinStar Farm have launched the official website for their Kentucky Derby contender Carpe Diem...

[read more]

American Pharoah blitzes foes in Arkansas Derby (G1)
Pioneerof the Nile

American Pharoah blitzes foes in Arkansas Derby (G1)

The superlatives flowed following American Pharoah’s incredible win in Saturday’s $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) as the son of Pioneerof the Nile rolled by some eight lengths...

[read more]

House Rules rallies to take Grade 3 Top Flight Handicap
Distorted Humor

House Rules rallies to take Grade 3 Top Flight Handicap

House Rules, a 4-year-old daughter of Distorted Humor, prevailed in a three-horse photo to score victory in the $200,000 Top Flight H. (G3)...

[read more]