Verrazano (horse)

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Verrazano
Sire More Than Ready
Grandsire Southern Halo
Dam Enchanted Rock
Damsire Giant's Causeway
Sex Colt
Foaled 27 January 2010[1]
Country United States
Color Bay
Breeder Emory A Hamilton
Owner Let's Go Stable & Coolmore
Trainer Todd Pletcher
Aidan O'Brien
Record 13:6-1-2
Earnings $1,878,013
Major wins
Tampa Bay Derby (2013)
Wood Memorial Stakes (2013)
Pegasus Stakes (2013)
Haskell Invitational Stakes (2013)

Verrazano (foaled 27 January 2010) is an American Thoroughbred racehorse. In 2013, trained by Todd Pletcher, he established himself as one of the leading three year old colts with early wins in the Tampa Bay Derby and Wood Memorial Stakes, He ran disappointingly in the Kentucky Derby and missed the remaining two legs of the Triple Crown but returned to prominence later in the summer with wins in the Pegasus Stakes and the Haskell Invitational Stakes. In his four year old year, he was campaigned in Europe, trained by Aidan O'Brien.

Background[edit]

Verrazano is a bay colt with a white stripe and two white socks bred by Emory A Hamilton at Middlebrook Farm near Lexington, Kentucky[2] He is an exceptionally powerful and good-looking colt: Steve Haskin has described him as looking "like Hercules next to mere mortals".[3]

His sire, More Than Ready, showed his best form over sprint distances, recording his most important success in the Grade I King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga in 2000. He stands at the Vinery Stud in Kentucky,[4] and has also been shuttled to stand in Australia and New Zealand during the southern hemisphere breeding season.[5] As a stallion his greatest success before the emergence of Verrazano had come with his southern hemisphere stock, including More Joyous, a mare who won nine Group One races.[6] Verrazano's dam Enchanted Rock showed no ability on her only racecourse appearance, but has become a successful broodmare, also producing the Risen Star Stakes winner El Padrino.

As a yearling, Verrazano was consigned by the Middlebrook Farm to the Keeneland sale.[7] On 14 September he was sold to the Let's Go Stable (managed by Bryan Sullivan and Kevin Scatuorchio)[8] for $250,000.[9] Scatuorchio named the horse after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.[10]

Racing career[edit]

2013: three-year-old season[edit]

Verrazano was unraced as a two-year-old, making his racecourse debut on January 1, 2013 in a Maiden Special Weight over six and a half furlongs at Gulfstream Park. Ridden as in all his races by the Puerto Rican-born Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, he took the lead in the straight and drew away from his ten opponents to win by seven and three-quarter lengths in a time of 1:16.48.[11] A month later at the same course, Verrazano was moved up in distance for an allowance race over one mile and started the 1/5 favourite. Taking the lead on the final turn he increased his lead throughout the closing stages to win by sixteen lengths in a time of 1:34.8, just over a second outside Commentator's track record.[12] The Blood-Horse described the performance as a "spectacular" one which had established Verrazano as a Kentucky Derby prospect.[13] Following the race a half share in the colt was bought for an undisclosed sum by the Coolmore organisation, represented by Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier and Derrick Smith.[8] Verrazano remained in Florida for his next race on March 9, when he was stepped up in class and distance to contest the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby over one and one sixteenth miles. Starting the 2/5 favourite "bobbled" leaving the starting gate, but recovered quickly and took the lead after three furlongs. He was never seriously challenged and won by three lengths "with a bit in reserve".[14] After the race Pletcher said: "It was a good performance. He is a lot like his sire; he has a great disposition and a great mind... he is so naturally fast for a big horse".[15]

Pletcher moved the colt north to Aqueduct Racetrack in April for the Grade I Wood Memorial Stakes an important trial race for the Kentucky. Velasquez positioned the 4/5 favorite just behind the leaders before taking the lead half a mile from the finish. He held the persistent challenge of Vyjack throughout the closing stages and won by three quarter of a length from the fast-finishing Normandy Invasion.[16] Following his success, Pletcher called Verrazano "the legitimate Kentucky Derby favorite" whilst admitting that the colt still lacked experience and had a tendency to idle in the straight.[17] On 4 May, Verrazano was one of nineteen colts to contest the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby. He looked likely to dispute favoritism on the morning of the race, but was weakly supported on the course and started the 8.7/1 fourth choice behind Orb, Revolutionary and Goldencents. He was among the early leaders as Palace Malice set an exceptionally fast pace but came under pressure approaching the final turn and faded in the stretch, finishing fourteenth behind Orb.

Verrazano missed the two remaining legs of the Triple Crown, reappearing on June 16 in the Grade III Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park. The colt's task was made much easier when his main betting rival, the Preakness Stakes runner-up Itsmyluckyday, pulled up injured early in the race, and he led from the start before drawing away in the stretch to win by nine and a quarter lengths.[18] After the race, Velasquez commented "His ears were wagging every step of the way and around the three-eighths pole I gave him a little nudge, and he knew it was time to go".[19] Verrazano returned to Grade I competition in the Haskell Invitational Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 28. His main rival appeared to be the Preakness winner Oxbow, while the field also included Vyjack and the Kentucky Derby runner-up Golden Soul. Velasquez tracked Oxbow before overtaking the Preakness winner three furlongs from the finish. Verrazano extended his advantage throughout the closing stages and won by nine and three quarter lengths from Power Broker.[20] The winning margin was the widest in the history of the race. Velasquez said; "He was awesome today. He did it real easy and made me look very good. He was going so good. I knew I had a lot of horse left. When I asked him to go down the stretch, he did it."[21] Verrazano started the 8/5 favorite for the Travers Stakes on 24 August against a field which included the Kentucky Derby winner Orb and the Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice. Verrazano tracked the leaders but faded in the straight and finished seventh of the nine runners, seven lengths behind the upset winner Will Take Charge.

Verrazano's final race of the year was the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile on November 1, 2013; it had been announced that he was most likely to be retired to stud.[22] He started the 5/2 favorite, but struggled to match the early pace and eventually finished fourth behind Goldencents. On 30 November, Verrazano, ridden for the first time by Javier Castellano, contested the Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct. He finished third of the ten runners behind Flat Out, with Groupie Doll in fourth and Goldencents in seventh place.

2014: four-year-old season[edit]

In February 2014 it was announced that instead of retirement, Verrazano would be campaigned in Europe, being trained by Aidan O'Brien at Ballydoyle.[23] The colt made his European debut in the Group One Lockinge Stakes at Newbury Racecourse on 17 May, and finished third to Olympic Glory. A month later, he again ran well in defeat, when beaten three-quarters of a length into second place by Toronado in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. O'Brien described the performance as a "lovely run" and nominated the Eclipse Stakes, International Stakes and Irish Champion Stakes as possible targets.[24] On 5 July Verrazano started at odds of 7/1 for the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park Racecourse but after racing in fourth place until half way, but then weakened and finished last of the nine runners behind Mukhadram. Discovering that he was lame after the race, the injury was not deemed "significant," but was severe enough that he would not be ready to run by the Breeders' Cup races in the fall. On August 14, 2014, it was announced that he would be retired and stand at stud in the United States at Ashford Stud in Kentucky.[25]

Pedigree[edit]

Pedigree of Verrazano (USA), bay colt, 2010[1]
Sire
More Than Ready (USA)
1997
Southern Halo (USA)
1983
Halo Hail To Reason
Cosmah
Northern Sea Northern Dancer
Sea Saga
Woodman's Girl (USA)
1990 
Woodman Mr Prospector
Playmate
Becky Be Good Naskra
Good Landing
Dam
Enchanted Rock (USA)
2004
Giant's Causeway (USA)
1997
Storm Cat Storm Bird
Terlingua
Mariah's Storm Rahy
Immense
Chic Shirine (USA)
1984 
Mr Prospector Raise a Native
Gold Digger
Too Chic Blushing Groom
Remedia (Family: 13-d)

Verrazano is inbred 3 x 4 to Mr Prospector, meaning that this stallion appears in both the third and fourth generations of his pedigree.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Verrazano". equineline.com. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  2. ^ "Profile of Emory A Hamilton". NTRA. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  3. ^ Steve Haskin (April 9, 2013). "Give Verrazano a Break". Cs.bloodhorse.com. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  4. ^ "More Than Ready Bloodstock Stallion Book". Bloodstock.racingpost.com. 2012-02-15. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  5. ^ "More Than Ready Sires 100th Stakes Winner". BloodHorse.com. May 14, 2012. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  6. ^ "More Joyous | Record By Race Type". Racing Post. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  7. ^ "Hip number 757". Keeneland Sale catalogue. September 2011. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  8. ^ a b "Coolmore Buys Interest in Unbeaten Verrazano". BloodHorse.com. February 7, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  9. ^ "Keeneland Associaton September 2011 Yearling Salet". Bloodstock.racingpost.com. 2013-07-26. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  10. ^ "Verrazano back in conversation for top 3 year old after record Haskell win". New York Times. 2013-07-29. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  11. ^ "Maiden race result". equibase. January 1, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  12. ^ "Allowance race result". equibase. February 2, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  13. ^ "Verrazano Rolls by Daylight at Gulfstream". BloodHorse.com. February 4, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  14. ^ "Tampa Bay Derby". equibase. March 9, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  15. ^ Novak, Claire (March 9, 2013). "Verrazano Stays Unbeaten in Tampa Bay Derby". BloodHorse.com. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  16. ^ "Wood Memorial Stakes result". Racing Post. April 6, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  17. ^ Novak, Claire (April 6, 2013). "Verrazano Holds in Formful Wood Memorial". BloodHorse.com. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  18. ^ "Pegasus Stakes result". equibase. June 16, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  19. ^ Shinar, Jack (June 16, 2013). "Verrazano Flies Home Alone in Pegasus Romp". BloodHorse.com. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  20. ^ Shinar, Jack (2013-07-28). "Verrazano Dazzles With Easy Haskell Victory". BloodHorse.com. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  21. ^ Usatoday (2013-07-28). "Verrazano blows past Oxbow to win Haskell going away". USA Today. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  22. ^ Novak, Claire. "BC Dirt Mile to be Last Race for Verrazano". BloodHorse.com. Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  23. ^ James Burn (3 February 2014). "Stud duties on hold as top colt Verrazano joins O'Brien". Racing Post. Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  24. ^ Tom Kerr (17 June 2014). "Royal Ascot Queen Anne goes to superb Toronado". Racing Post. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  25. ^ "Verrazano retired to Ashford Stud". Daily Racing Form. 2014-08-14. Retrieved 2014-08-19.