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
$460K for Speightstown colt at Fasig-Tipton Florida
Speightstown

$460K for Speightstown colt at Fasig-Tipton Florida

Speightstown's top offering at the March 4 Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-year-old sale brought a winning bid of $460,000...

[read more]

Big prices for Distorted Humor 2yos at Fasig-Tipton Florida
Distorted Humor

Big prices for Distorted Humor 2yos at Fasig-Tipton Florida

Distorted Humor was among the leading sires at the March 4 Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-year-old sale...

[read more]

$685K for Pioneerof the Nile colt at Fasig-Tipton Florida
Pioneerof the Nile

$685K for Pioneerof the Nile colt at Fasig-Tipton Florida

A strapping dark bay son of Pioneerof the Nile brought a winning bid of $685,000 at the March 4 Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-year-old sale...

[read more]

Sidney’s Candy 2yo brings $150K at Fasig-Tipton Florida
Sidney's Candy

Sidney’s Candy 2yo brings $150K at Fasig-Tipton Florida

A colt first from the crop Sidney’s Candy brought a winning bid of $150,000 at the March 4 Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-year-old sale...

[read more]

Royal Son jumps into Triple Crown picture
Tiznow

Royal Son jumps into Triple Crown picture

WinStar Farm's homebred 3-year-old Tiznow colt Royal Son powered to an authoritative victory in the $125,000 John Battaglia Memorial S...

[read more]

Tiznow colt racks up fourth stakes win
Tiznow

Tiznow colt racks up fourth stakes win

Rebranded took the race to his foes early in Saturday’s $50,000 Curribot H., pulling away by a couple of lengths in the first furlong...

[read more]

China Horse Club buys into G1 winner Daredevil

China Horse Club buys into G1 winner Daredevil

China Horse Club has acquired a minority interest in Grade 1 winner Daredevil, who’s set to make his 3-year-old debut in Saturday’s $200,000 Swale S. (G2) at Gulfstream...

[read more]

‘Brilliant’ Khozan targeting Florida Derby (G1) after Gulfstream win
Distorted Humor

‘Brilliant’ Khozan targeting Florida Derby (G1) after Gulfstream win

Distorted Humor’s Khozan has become the hottest 3-year-old on the Triple Crown trail in Florida, with two dominating victories...

[read more]

Congrats filly kicks off 2015 with a victory
Congrats

Congrats filly kicks off 2015 with a victory

Pangburn’s 3-year-old debut Friday at Oaklawn Park was a smashing success, setting up the Congrats filly perfectly for a run at the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1)...

[read more]

Sharp Santa Anita MdSpWt score for Hold Me Back colt
Hold Me Back

Sharp Santa Anita MdSpWt score for Hold Me Back colt

Commute drew away in the Santa Anita stretch on Sunday to register a 2 ¼-length victory in a 6 ½-furlong maiden special weight contest...

[read more]