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
Weekend Hideaway too good in $200,000 Commentator S. title=
Speightstown

Weekend Hideaway too good in $200,000 Commentator S.

Weekend Hideaway, one of Speightstown's most prolific stakes performers over the past few years, racked up his seventh added-money victory on Memorial Day...

[read more]

Fasig-Tipton, Coolmore, & WinStar team up to host party for Ann Hanley Parkinson’s Research Fund title=

Fasig-Tipton, Coolmore, & WinStar team up to host party for Ann Hanley Parkinson’s Research Fund

Fasig-Tipton, Coolmore America, and WinStar Farm have teamed up to host “Night For A Cure”, a...

[read more]

$500,000 Speightstown colt at F-T Midlantic 2yo sale title=
Speightstown

$500,000 Speightstown colt at F-T Midlantic 2yo sale

Speightstown had the second-highest priced colt at the May 23-24 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic...

[read more]

Speightstown colt fetches $500,000 at F-T Midlantic title=

Speightstown colt fetches $500,000 at F-T Midlantic

Leading sire Speightstown had a two-year-old colt hammered down for $500,000 on Day 2 of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale for two-year-olds in training Tuesday, May 24th in Maryland...

[read more]

Exaggerator triumphs over Nyquist in Preakness (G1) title=

Exaggerator triumphs over Nyquist in Preakness (G1)

On a rainy afternoon in Maryland, Exaggerator one-upped his second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1) with a rousing victory in the $1.5 million Preakness S. (G1)...

[read more]

Exaggerator's connections “confident” ahead of Preakness (G1) title=

Exaggerator's connections “confident” ahead of Preakness (G1)

Exaggerator's big rally in the May 7 Kentucky Derby (G1) have his connections looking forward to the rematch with Nyquist in Saturday's $1.5 million Preakness S. (G1)...

[read more]

More Than Ready filly rolls to stakes victory at York title=
More Than Ready

More Than Ready filly rolls to stakes victory at York

Nemoralia, twice Grade 1-placed in the U. S. last year, secured her first stakes victory on Friday at York in Great Britain...

[read more]

Bodemeister’s first winner impressively takes debut at Gulfstream title=

Bodemeister’s first winner impressively takes debut at Gulfstream

WinStar Farm’s freshman sire Bodemeister, the dual classic-placed, Grade 1-winning son of Empire Maker, was represented with his first winner on Wednesday, when 2-year-old filly Bode’s Dream scored an impressive debut victory in a $42,000 Maiden Special Weight at Gulfstream Park...

[read more]

Joking gets serious in $100,000 Diablo S. title=
Distorted Humor

Joking gets serious in $100,000 Diablo S.

Joking left his connections all smiles after the son of Distorted Humor rallied from last to first in the stretch to take the $100,000 Diablo S...

[read more]

Ironicus captures Fort Marcy S. (G3) in 2016 debut title=
Distorted Humor

Ironicus captures Fort Marcy S. (G3) in 2016 debut

Away from the races since last September, Ironicus was triumphant in his first 2016 outing with a 1 1/2-length score Saturday in the $150,000 Fort Marcy S. (G3)...

[read more]