06/17/2013 4:02PM

Belmont Park notes: Verrazano on track for Haskell Invitational

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David Owens/Equi-Photo
Verrazano won the Grade 3 Pegasus by 9 1/4 lengths Sunday and earned a 96 Beyer Speed Figure.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Though Sunday’s Pegasus Stakes became virtually a walkover for Verrazano once Itsmyluckyday was pulled up, trainer Todd Pletcher believes his 3-year-old got enough out of the race to set him up perfectly for a return trip to Monmouth Park for the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational Stakes on July 28.

Verrazano, rebounding from a 14th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby – his first career loss – waltzed to a front-running, 9 1/4-length victory in the Grade 3, $150,000 Pegasus. Under John Velazquez, Verrazano ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.72 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 96.

Verrazano got away with a first quarter-mile in 24.82 seconds, and shortly after Itsmyluckyday went to challenge him on the backstretch, that horse took an awkward step and was pulled up by jockey Mike Smith. After initial X-rays were negative, Itsmyluckyday was sent Monday to an equine clinic in New Jersey for further evaluation.

“It was an unfortunate situation, and it basically became a walkover at that point,” Pletcher said. “The thing that I liked was off a slow half-mile, he still went a mile and a sixteenth in 1:41 and change, which is pretty hard to do. He went the last five-sixteenths in 29 flat. You don’t see times like that pretty often unless it’s on the grass.”

Going into the race, Pletcher worried whether facing a talented rival like Itsmyluckyday might make Verrazano do more than he wanted for a prep.

“I thought we accomplished what we were hoping for,” said Pletcher, noting that Verrazano got a successful race over the track. “I think he did enough to set him up for [the Haskell]. One of my concerns was running against Itsmyluckyday, it would be too much. Certainly, it looked like he was back to his old self.”

Verrazano, who won the Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes and the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby this year, vanned from Monmouth to Saratoga on Monday. Pletcher said he elected to send Verrazano to Saratoga because beginning next week, Pletcher himself will be headquartered at Saratoga for the summer.

Pletcher still will have plenty of action over the remaining four weeks at Belmont Park, including running Dreaming of Julia this Saturday as the probable odds-on favorite in the Grade 1 Mother Goose. Last Sunday, Dreaming of Julia breezed a half-mile in 49.07 seconds over the Belmont training track.

Pletcher may seek to run San Pablo in the Grade 2 Suburban on July 6 after his 3 1/2-length victory in last Friday’s $90,000 Criminal Type Stakes.

“He ran well enough the other day to deserve a chance to run in the Suburban if he’s ready to wheel back on relatively short rest,” Pletcher said.

San Pablo ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.14 and earned a 101 Beyer. If San Pablo doesn’t run in the Suburban, he could be a candidate for the Grade 2, $200,000 Monmouth Cup at Monmouth on July 28.

Pletcher said Notacatbutallama, winner of Saturday’s Grade 3 Hill Prince, would be pointed to the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 9, though he would like to find a race before then.

Emollient back to work

Emollient, winner of the Grade 1 Ashland in April, worked a half-mile in 50.71 seconds Monday over Belmont’s main track, her first breeze since she finished sixth as the favorite in the Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico on May 17.

“She’s starting to look good,” trainer Bill Mott said. “The breeze was a little slow this morning, but that was by design.”

Emollient will make her turf debut in the Grade 1, $350,000 American Oaks at Hollywood Park on July 13.

steve szymanski More than 1 year ago
Ahhhhhhhh, the Verrazanno Discussion again. Do you people get it??? The horse needs weak fractions to win. make him go 1:11 and anything and he is D.O.A. 'nuff said. More importantly. I had Oxbow in the Preakness and hit the Belmont when he was second. BUT... how is Oxbow ranked 34th in the world.... See the top 4 below and tell me you can't envision a field in Japan where Oxbow would run 35th. Ha (you get the point) Ranking 1 130 S T BLACK CAVIAR (AUS) 6 2006 M Werrett, Wilkie, Taylor & Hawkes Peter Moody - AUS 2 129 M T WISE DAN (USA) 6 2007 G Morton Fink Charles Lopresti - USA 3 126 I A ANIMAL KINGDOM (USA) 5 2008 H Arrowfield Stud & Team Valor Graham Motion - USA 3 126 I D GAME ON DUDE (USA) 6 2007 G Diamond Pride LLC, Lanni Family Trust et al Bob Baffert -USA ...And Game on Dude is number (tied for 3rd) I didn't know they let the horses take their track with them. LOL
Ann Ferland More than 1 year ago
I actually think Verrano would be pretty tough at 7f or a one-turn mile. They want him to be a two-turn horse of the first rank for the sake of his stud career, but he just isn't up to it.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Unbeaten on a fast track at two turns. 3/3 . One a grade 1 @ 1 1/8 . One grade 2 and one grade 3 # 1 1/16. You can have your opinion . But so far you are wrong .
jttf More than 1 year ago
isnt the pegasus suppose to be the prep for the haskell ? then why dont the pegasus stakes winners ever win the haskell ? a wood memorial runner bounced big time in the derby again.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Lol . 5/6. derby winner 0/2 since . And some more 0 to follow.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
he nor the others bounced in the derby.they hated the surface.it was arguably 1 of the worst tracks i have seen.the fact so many came right back is proof.orb loved that track,but it took its toll on him in his ensuing races.if there was a horse that so called bounced.it was orb after the derby.what does the word prep mean.does it mean todd and owners forfeited the purse money to get a run over the track.he ran a race,get that word prep out of your thinking.
Charles Levy More than 1 year ago
Pegasus use to be run at the MED !!
Ann Ferland More than 1 year ago
Has it been run since Meadowlands quit having its top-class fall TB meeting? I remember when the Meadowlands Cup at 10f was a G1 and a major BC prep.
Wesley Wright More than 1 year ago
This horse has great potential, reminds me of Twirling Candy and Quality Road etc. Very high cruising speed with a little stamina. His best distance will be 8-9F. Hope to see him in the rich mile races and the Breeders Cup later this year.
russell More than 1 year ago
No way he's better than the two horses you mentioned. He's got a lot to prove. He hasn't beaten much so far. The TB Derby? Give me a break.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Open lengths winner on a surface Johnny v said he never grabbe hold of.
Tyler Mathis More than 1 year ago
I hope he goes to the BC Classic. Would be interesting watching him dog Fort Larned for the first half mile before dropping like a pair of cheap socks.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
first of all.to all of you that are impressed by fast times.did any of you pay attention to how fast the track and the rail were.let me enlighten you.in the 1rst race, a 9k claimer went 21.1 in a 3 horse speed duel.he put them away and drew off to win by open lengths. FINAL TIME WAS 1.08.2 , FOR A 9K CLAIMER. in the 2nd race.a 5k claimer went 1.10.2. so before you question the speed figure.pay attention to how the track was playing.V errazano ran good.after IMLD pulled out,there was no competition.this is not to take anything away from VZ.like i said he was very good.but enough of the sensitivity he was robbed by the speed figure.
Quite A Dude More than 1 year ago
Todd overreacted to Verrazano's Derby loss. He's easily the best three year old in the country and would have won the Preakness if wheeled back. Don't be surprised if this colt doesn't run the table all the way to the BC Classic. He's probably not quite a mile and a quarter horse but the glib SA strip will allow him to carry his speed easily. He'll track Game on Dude and just roll easily. Mark my words..
LeslieH0101 More than 1 year ago
I love this horse, too!
jimf552 More than 1 year ago
Haskell and Pennsylvania Derby's maybe, that's about it.
russell More than 1 year ago
Dude you are nuts. Todd had his best 3 yold Palace Malice win at Belmont. PM is a better horse and he's getting better.
Quite A Dude More than 1 year ago
You have no feel for talent. Palace Malice couldn't warm up Verrazano at a mile and a quarter on down.
Michael Francis More than 1 year ago
i want some off wat you drinking!!!!
Michael Francis More than 1 year ago
i hope they start normandy invasion in the haskell, then you will see who a improving horse is.....
steve szymanski More than 1 year ago
You LOSE a lot, don't you. MARK MY WORDS. You make Verrazzqano go 1:11 or faster and he folds every time. Put him in a dogfight and he fold every time.
jjklavins More than 1 year ago
Looks like Verrazano's ankle is a non-issue for now - loved those fractions in the Pegasus => 24.82 23.93 23.92 23.31 5.74 - more like synth or turf instead of dirt ! "paid workout" or not, only top quality dirt horses are capable of running in '24s' throughout the typical route race - if Pletcher can train him to relax early and not chase the typical sub 1:11 early pace, Verrazano can run 24s and blow by the Haskell field in the stretch.
russell More than 1 year ago
Verrazano will win plenty of races if Pletcher avoids the big guns. He's a little better than Hansen.
AndrewD More than 1 year ago
A little better?
russell More than 1 year ago
yeah; if he doesn't get the lead or near the lead on soft fractions he ain't winning. But there are plenty of big pots to win. Super Derby, PA Derby etc...
Mark More than 1 year ago
He is the big gun .
Andel Depena More than 1 year ago
What pletcher stated its the truth, 1:41 at 1 1/16 and the half mile at 48, 3/4 at 1:12. These are insane numbers. I think the beyer should have been at least 100 but idk how the track was rating. This horse would wire the field if left alone.
Brian Leckie More than 1 year ago
Pletcher trying to make sure everything is perfect and baby his horses along the way, and then enter 5 horses in a big race. Can't stand him.
John Piassek More than 1 year ago
Yeah, like it's his fault Itsmyluckyday pulled up.
Jason Hart More than 1 year ago
Yeah Brian..... How dare he try to make sure everything is perfect with his horses. How dare he baby and take care of his horses. And how dare he have more than one owner, who wants to run their horse in a big race. He should simply tell his other owners, "Sorry.....I'm not going to enter your horse in this stake because I already entered a horse for another one of my owners in here." LOL...... Find something else to pick Pletcher apart about. You just made yourself look stupid!!!
Ann Ferland More than 1 year ago
There is a difference between taking proper care of your horses and coddling them. Sometimes you have to give them a hard race to get them fit for a big race, a race they might lose but will bring them on. Pletcher is fixated on making his charges stallions, so wins are more important than facing the toughest competition available. Fortunately even he can't duck the Derby, in which his methods are found out.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
a fresh verrazano for the haskell.if i were todd,i would not fear anybody coming in.he has the tactical speed and he has quality. you look at how horses came back and ran after the derby.if that race does not go down as one of the fluke surfaces of modern racing era,something is wrong.except for a handful of horses.they all hated it.
jimf552 More than 1 year ago
Expect a Baffert in there and maybe Normandy Invasion and/or Oxbow.