05/17/2014 10:33AM

Verrazano third behind Olympic Glory in J.T. Lockinge


Heavily favored Olympic Glory easily won his 4-year-old debut in the Group 1 J.T. Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in England on Saturday, as Verrazano, making his turf debut and first start for trainer Aidan O’Brien, finished a creditable third.

Olympic Glory last was seen finishing ninth of 10 over the lightning-fast Santa Anita course in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, but the conditions in California worked against him, and Olympic Glory was coming back just two weeks after peak performance over soft ground in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. The Newbury course was rated good  for the Lockinge, but Olympic Glory handled it with aplomb, rating comfortably near the back of an eight-horse field before starting his run about three furlongs out. Olympic Glory easily collared the pacesetters and faced no serious challenge, galloping home 2 ½ lengths in front of Tullius.

Frankie Dettori rode the winner for trainer Richard Hannon Jr. and Sheik Joaan al Thani’s Al Shaqab Racing. Olympic Glory, an Irish-bred by Choisir, won for the seventh time in 12 starts while capturing his third Group 1 race.

Verrazano, whose retirement following his 2013 campaign was initially announced and then retracted, performed encouragingly in the  first race of his new overseas career. He, too, raced from behind, rallying between horses for third, about four lengths behind the winner and a half-length in front of the decent colt Chopin.