05/15/2014 4:04PM

Verrazano makes turf debut in J.T. Lockinge at Newbury

Barbara D. Livingston
Verrazano, winner of last summer's Haskell at Monmouth Park, will launch his 4-year-old campaign at Newbury, England on Saturday.

Haskell Stakes winner Verrazano’s first start in Europe comes in an ambitious spot, the Group 1 J.T. Lockinge Stakes on Saturday at Newbury in England.

The Coolmore ownership group initially announced Verrazano would be retired to stud following his 3-year-old campaign, but instead he was shipped from trainer Todd Pletcher to Aidan O’Brien in Ireland to prepare for a European grass campaign. The Lockinge, which is contested over one mile, will be Verrazano’s first race on grass.

Such is the respect apparently accorded O’Brien that Verrazano, despite his lack of turf form, is the general second choice in antepost betting on the Lockinge. He breaks from post 5 under Joseph O’Brien and should benefit from racing on a course expected to be on the firm side of good.

A good-to-firm course would not welcome news for Olympic Glory, who also makes his 4-year-old debut in the Lockinge. Olympic Glory is the most accomplished horse in the race, but his best performances, including his win in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes last fall, came on courses rated soft or heavy.

The other two with a chance are Tullius, who exits what might have been a career-best showing winning the Group 3 bet365 Mile last month at Sandown, and Chopin, a German-based 4-year-old who has yet to follow through on promise he showed late in his 2-year-old season and early last year.

The Grey Gatsby wins Epsom Derby prep

In the Group 2 Dante Stakes, a major Epsom Derby prep on Thursday at York, The Grey Gatsby scored a three-quarters length win over Arod, as heavily favored True Story, thought to be a major Epsom Derby hopeful, finished a one-paced third.

The Dante result hardened the ante-post Derby favoritism of Australia, and O’Brien’s big hope for the Epsom Derby now is priced as an odds-on favorite by most English bookmaking houses.

The Grey Gatsby, trained by Kevin Ryan and ridden to victory by Ryan Moore, won for the second time in seven starts. He had most recently finished 10th going one mile in the English 2000 Guineas, and improved at the Dante’s 1 5/16-mile distance.

Military Attack seeks repeat in Singapore Cup

The Hong Kong-based gelding Military Attack will try to win the Group 1 Singapore Cup for the second year in a row on Sunday at Kranji Racecourse. Military Attack, ridden by budding international star Joao Moreira, faces 11 rivals, including two horses – Side Glance and Mull of Killough – that raced in the 2013 Arlington Million.