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Gulfstream Park: Pletcher adds Verrazano to list of Derby prospects
By Mike Welsch
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – As if trainer Todd Pletcher didn’t already have a strong enough arsenal of 3-year-olds heading into the new year, on Tuesday he wasted little time adding another to the list after Verrazano cruised to an easy 7 3/4-length victory over what appeared to be a loaded maiden field in the second race of the 2013 season.
Verrazano is a son of More Than Ready out of Enchanted Rock, and the younger brother of El Padrino, who began his 3-year-old campaign here last winter with an equally eye-catching allowance win. El Padrino would subsequently win the Grade 2 Risen Star at the Fair Grounds and finish fourth in the Florida Derby before ending his abbreviated campaign by checking in 13th in the Kentucky Derby.
Verrazano, who was backed to 9-5, stalked the early pace before drawing off at will under jockey John Velazquez in his debut. He received a 94 Beyer Speed Figure.
“He’s been impressing us in the mornings,” said Pletcher. “We were looking forward to getting him started and I’m glad he showed us in the afternoon what he’d been showing in the mornings. He’s a real big colt who had some minor baby issues, and we just wanted to wait a little later to get him started. Actually, he could have been ready to run last week if the race had come up, but we zeroed in on this one.”
Pletcher said he sees many similarities between Verrazano and his big brother El Padrino.
“They have lot of similar characteristics – their personalities, their size, and their demeanor,” said Pletcher. “El Padrino is a really good horse, and this horse is even more impressive in the mornings.”
When asked what might be next on the agenda for Verrazano, Pletcher said he’ll “play it by ear and ease his way along.”
Verrazano joins Pletcher’s band of Kentucky Derby prospects, which also includes the undefeated Breeders’ Cup champion Shanghai Bobby, Remsen winner Overanalyze, Nashua and CashCall Futurity winner Violence, as well as Delhomme and Revolutionary.
I'll have Another didn't start late, he was racing at Del Mar as a two yr. old. He was just unsuccessful until he turned 3 yrs. old.
I like this horse. Looks like he has tons of talent.
The East seems to be coming up with some exceptional colts ! Out West Baffert seems to have a couple nice ones, Flashback right at the top of the list ! This colt debuted in a 7furlong MDN race, filled with promising colts . One of them opened up on the turn, but Flashback settled, circled wide and blew past in an instant, galloped out exceptional; And he is a beautiful looking greyish sliver color ! Almost like a Silver Charm .The race has already produced 3 next out winners !
It seems the new thought process for alot of trainers, is becoming, get 3-4 races into a good colt, and then take a shot at the Derby ! Last year, Bodemeister, Ill Have Another and Paynter all started late , yet did well. The ones who seemed to be over raced, seemed to be declining by Derby, Preekness , Belmont time . Maybe the current trainers are taking a new highway to the Triple Crown .Seems to be working, they are the experts !
Micromanage could be included soon.
kind of shocked. I thought the beyer fig would be higher. Horse would have dominated the Spectacular Bid which was the race just after. Think this horse could be a player.
I remember afleet alex running at oaklawn in a 6 furlong race to start his 3 year old year...he turned out pretty good that year
The "Point System" could be the Wild Card that helps/hurts the "true" talent in this crop of 3 yos. Seems that it was put together hastily with little thought given to the way things were, but rather, how the interests surrounding Churchill Downs can best make out. Some tweaking would seem to be needed. But it shapes up to be one wild ride for now. (read:Interesting)
Another fine prospect for Pletcher. The new Derby point system may inadvertantly save some of Pletchers horses. Any other year he may have pushed him earlier, but having a few minor issues there was no need to. He did it very well, finished nice, showed desire, and he's a big stout boy. His time was on par or faster than any other on the card except one, Itsmylucky day. Itsmyluckyday really looked exceptional. He was with the early pace, moved to the front on the turn, and allowed to drift wide to keep his opponent outside of him. When asked he pinned his ears and took off with determination doing everything his jock asked him to do when he asked. When the jock wrapped him up well before the wire, he pricked his ears, and went back to his left lead. And did in extremely fast time. He seems to have it all and I like his running style. Too early to tell, but I bet Plesa is grinning and wouldn't change with anyone.
At this time last year, Pletcher had a dozen "Derby" horses...another arsenal......NONE of them turned out to be anything. Horses winning maiden sprints are not automatically Derby horses! All overhype.
- 1.Posted 06/18/2013 09:59AM
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- 5.Posted 06/17/2013 04:02PM