03/10/2013 2:34PM

Verrazano on target for one more Kentucky Derby prep

Tom Cooley
Verrazano won the Tampa Bay Derby despite stumbling at the start. Trainer Todd Pletcher says he will make one more start before the Kentucky Derby, with the Wood at Aqueduct one possibility.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -  Despite winning three graded stakes and four races overall on Saturday, trainer Todd Pletcher is not about to rest on his laurels. In fact Pletcher barely got any rest at all, sending out his first set of workers including Florida Derby candidate Shanghai Bobby well before dawn Sunday morning at Palm Meadows after returning home from Tampa late the previous evening following Verrazano’s impressive victory in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby.

Pletcher reported Verrazano grabbed a quarter when stumbling leaving the gate after the start of his victory in the Tampa Bay Derby but otherwise all was well with his undefeated and tested 3-year-old sensation.

“He came out of the race really well,” said Pletcher. “He did grab a quarter when stumbling after the start but I don’t anticipate it will hold us up, schedule wise.”

[DERBY WATCH: Top 20 Kentucky Derby contenders with odds and video]

Pletcher was obviously pleased with Verrazano’s performance in his graded stakes debut.

“I thought he ran really well,” said Pletcher. “You’re always worried when you go to a new place over what can be considered a quirky surface, so it’s nice to see him handle the two turns and the different surface. He sat off a little bit, was able to maneuver and take back a little to put himself in good position. It’s all very good.”

Pletcher said the plan is to give Verrazano one more start prior to the Kentucky Derby.

“I’m not going to rule anything out right now,” said Pletcher. “The Wood was my first thought going into the race yesterday and that’s still my primary option, but one good thing about running in the Tampa Derby is that it puts us in a good position regarding options over a three-week period for his next start.”

Pletcher worked several of his other Derby hopefuls over what appeared to be a somewhat cuppy racetrack Sunday at Palm Meadows.

Juvenile champion Shanghai Bobby was the first to go, breezing five furlongs in 1:02.78 in company under jockey Javier Castellano. The pair, working under the cover of darkness, went off a very slow opening eighth of 14 and change and quarter in 27.36, but finished well and galloped out strong, completing six furlongs in 1:15.56 before pulling up seven-eighths in 1:28.58.

“I thought it was a solid work for him,” said Pletcher. “They got off to a little bit of a slow start but then finished up real well and galloped out strongly.”

Delhomme was the next of the Derby prospects to go, working five-eighths in 1:00.99 and galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.82 in tandem with Abraham. Delhomme is slated to make his next start on Saturday in the Rebel at Oaklawn.   

Revolutionary and Capo Bastone breezed together after the break, completing five furlongs in 1:01.38 and galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.38, with Castellano aboard Revolutionary and John Velasquez up on Capo Bastone.

“I thought it was a good solid work, I was happy with both of them,” said Pletcher.

Revolutionary will make his next start in the Louisiana Derby while Pletcher said Capo Bastone would probably join Delhomme this weekend in the Rebel lineup.

Palice Malice followed shortly thereafter, breaking off a length behind the older allowance-winning mare Authenticity and finishing about a half-length behind after covering a half-mile in 49.25. The team galloped out five-eighths in 1:01.91.
Palice Malice is also being pointed for the Louisiana Derby on March 30.