03/10/2013 3:34PM

Verrazano on target for one more Kentucky Derby prep

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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.

Richard More than 1 year ago
I have had enough with these 1 1/16 mile routes. It is important to start running these horses in 1 1/8 mile stakes. 1 ¼ mile at The Derby in a twenty horse field is no cake walk. I am concerned of prep races like The Wood Memorial, The Florida Derby, and The Arkansas Derby which all have purses of $1,000,000, the same that The Preakness and Belmont Stakes pay. Why race your three year old in The Belmont Stakes and be finished like Union Rags! There are other races at 1 ¼ mile later in the summer and early fall that pay $1,000,000. The Santa Anita Derby pays $750,000, which is the right purse for a prep. The money they could save by cutting those three prep races I mentioned to the same as The Santa Anita Derby could possibly go into the purses of The Preakness and Belmont Stakes. If you are going to ruin that nice three year old that could have had a nice career you will be at least getting the sixty percent on a higher purse. You see in some cases it does not make sense!
Roger Haynos More than 1 year ago
You are spot on about the 20 horse field observation..........there are a number of riders who are miserable route riders. A mile and a sixteenth and a mile and an eighth are route distances but mile an a quarter takes that extra little something to win at. As far as Verazzano goes: I do not see too many Tampa Bay Derby winners blowing away fields at Churchill Downs no matter what the distance. For the owners sake I hope I am incorrect but history is pretty one sided in this area.
jttf More than 1 year ago
when is the last time a horse with 4 three year old derby preps has won the derby ? it has been a long time. when is the last time a pletcher male horse has won 4 route races without a layoff ? the lasix dries up today's horses like raisins. just look at today's 15th race in chile. the horse named haggen, has had 331 starts in his life. 2 other horses have more than 200 races. but they dont run with lasix down there. they cant afford vet bills every week. trainers and vets tell us that they cant run their horses more than 10 times a year here in america.
Roger Haynos More than 1 year ago
Mark: Pletcher is always a force in January-March but it is the first Saturday in May in Kentucky that matters. Graham Motion has far fewer yearlings each year but he has his Derby win. I will not deny Pletcher has a powerhouse stable every year.........he should, with 25 million in yearlings each year: any trainer worth his salt would do well with Pletcher's yearly stock.
Sam More than 1 year ago
See reply to Mark's message. I was in err about race.
Sam More than 1 year ago
At this point, Verrazano appears to be another Big Brown without steroids, But, Mark, how can you say he was pulling away when Hear The Ghost was closing the gap big time?
Sam More than 1 year ago
god, I got the wrong race. I was thinking of Flashback race. Sorry
Mark Kennedy More than 1 year ago
HOW CAN YOU SAY VERRAZANO LIMITATIONS WAS 1 MILE AND 1/16 LOL HE WAS FULL OF RUN AT THE END AND WAS DRAWING AWAY THIS HORSE IS THE REAL DEAL IN FACT I THINK PLETCHERS HORSES (THIS yR)_ ARE THE STRNGEST MOST VERSATILE BUNCH IVE SEEN i THINK ANYONE WOULD LOVE TO BE IN THE POSITION HES IN NOT ONLY HIM BUT REVOLUTINARY IS AMAZING PALICE MALICE WILL ONLY GET BETTER CAPE BASTONE I THINK IS A SOLID HORSE SHANGHAI BOBBY IM NOT TO SEURE ABOYT BUT ALL AND ALL HIS STABLE IS A FORCE FOR SURE
michael stapler More than 1 year ago
Revolutionary will get left qat the gate BIG TIME in the Derby. I'll lay 20-1 on that. Verrazano will get cooked, as it seems there is a ton of speed to make it into the gate come May. Find a closer. A grinder an horse that can run the entire 1 1/4.
Roger Haynos More than 1 year ago
So Verrazano is going to be the next super horse........I seem to remember the same banter about Eskendereya........who NEVER even ran in the Derby. Oh, he caught a quarter too.
michael stapler More than 1 year ago
Grabbed a quarter. And eskenderya would have won in a gallop. Verrazano is no Eskenderya
Roger Haynos More than 1 year ago
Eskendereya never started because he was lame........he would have lost by a landslide. Good horses win the Derby but great horses overcome their problems and win anyway.........and keep on winning.
Nathan More than 1 year ago
this is why we need head to head betting with a take-out of 2 1/2 -5 %. it;s called betfair. in my opinion, shanghai bobby will crush itsmyluckyday in the fl. derby. at betfair, he doesn't have to win, just finnish ahead of him. i want 3-2 and someone will give it to me. also if one of them doesn't start, the bet is off. fortunately i have a brother in england who has an account that i use. the future of racing in the u.s is the betting exchange. anyone who bets into a track pool in n.a. doesn't have a chance to come out ahead. over time, the juice will kill you. be in control of your own destiny. at least give yourself a chance.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Lets put it precisely. Betting in general is a losing proposition. If they gave us 10-1 on any win bet we made we still wouldn't be profitable.
Black More than 1 year ago
Uh huh ,that's why they just busted the jockey in England for taking bets on Betfair and stiffing horses mamy many times. You should give up gambling . You are obviously a neophyte when it comes to recogniZing a scam when you see one.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Pletcher and Baffert rarely ship their top 3 year olds into the others' house; Baffert typically has steered clear of the Florida Derby, Pletcher's backyard, and Pletcher usually avoids the Santa Anita Derby, a race Baffert has won 6 times. But hopefully Pletcher took notice of the San Felipe, and realizes it would be a waste not to send one of his armada out West for the $750k purse and all the Derby points. Things are wide open out West among the 3 year olds.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
You didnt think he wanted any part of Itsmyluckyday in the FLA Derby did you?
Valerie More than 1 year ago
He's not going to run against Shanghai Bobby who needs points to get into the derby.
michael stapler More than 1 year ago
....And some class.