Updated on 04/03/2013 10:06AM

Wood Memorial: Verrazano delivers bullet five furlongs before leaving Florida for Aqueduct

Barbara D. Livingston
Arkansas Derby prospect Overanalyze (right), with John Velazquez up, works five furlongs in company with Charming Kitten on Sunday at Palm Meadows.

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - Less than 13 hours after winning Saturday’s $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park aboard Orb, jockey John Velazquez was at the Palm Meadows training center Sunday morning to guide the undefeated 3-year-old Verrazano through his final workout leading up to next Saturday’s $1 million Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.

Working outside of Grade 2 winner Discreet Dancer, Verrazano breezed five furlongs in 1:01.05, the fastest of 15 works at the distance. He began the work a length behind Discreet Dancer, quickly caught up, and finished about a neck in front. He got his last quarter in a solid 23.08 seconds and galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.97 and seven-eighths in 1:27.56.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

 “He breezed really well,” Velazquez said. “I was planning to be farther back, but the guy instead of going he just waited for me and I was in front of him, then I had to wait for him and we finished up really good the last quarter-mile and galloped out very good.”

 Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Verrazano, said the work was consistent with what he has been seeing from Verrazano, who has won all three of his starts in a career that began on New Year’s Day.

 “I’m impressed by his consistency. He’s an easy horse to train. He’s kind in his gallops. He’ll do whatever you want during a breeze,” Pletcher said.

 Verrazano will be the favorite in Saturday’s Wood Memorial, which, as of Sunday, had eight confirmed starters. The other runners are Vyjack, Normandy Invasion, Elnaawi, Mr Palmer, Always in a Tiz, Freedom Child, and Quinzieme Monarque.

 Verrazano, coming off a win in the Tampa Bay Derby, will ship to New York on Wednesday.

 Also on that flight will be Normandy Invasion, who worked a half-mile in 47.80 seconds Sunday morning at Palm Meadows, the fastest of 35 breezes at the distance.

 Working by himself under exercise rider Jorge Herrera, Normandy Invasion went his opening quarter in 24.00 seconds and came home in 23.80 while galloping out five furlongs in 59.96.

 Trainer Chad Brown said, after several fast five-furlong breezes in company, he wasn’t looking for another quick move from Normandy Invasion, but noted the horse did it basically on his own.

 “He went even better than I expected him to go,” Brown said. “He’s turning into a real professional horse. He went around there with his ears up. The time might have been a touch faster than I was looking for but he did it so easy with no company around him I just think he’s getting more professional.”

 Normandy Invasion, who was beaten a nose in the Remsen last November at Aqueduct, is coming off a troubled fifth in the Risen Star.

 Javier Castellano, who rode Revolutionary to victory in Saturday’s Louisiana Derby, will ride Normandy Invasion in the Wood.

Overanalyze, Charming Kitten work

 Velazquez was also aboard Overanalyze, last year’s Remsen winner, when he worked five furlongs in 1:01.26 Sunday in company with Charming Kitten, the runner-up in the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes on turf.

Overanalyze, working towards a start in the Arkansas Derby on April 13, got his final quarter in 24.58 seconds.

Charming Kitten, who won the Kitten’s Joy on turf before finishing second to Rydilluc in the Palm Beach, also on turf, is being pointed to the Blue Grass Stakes on April 13.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated Normandy Invasion's last race. He was fifth in the Risen Star, not the Louisiana Derby.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dullahan is a BUST. Dale Romans just makes excuse after excuse. He won the Bluegrass from off the pace, couldn't win Belmont from off the pace and in Dubai he was being being picked and he ran like crap a month B4 and Romans made an excuse about that as well.....Animal Kingdom, a Class Act. We'll see about Verrazano & Orb & Vyjack& Revolutionary. Also Hear the Ghost Super99,Flash and G Scents this week
jttf More than 1 year ago
pletcher horses have more energy in new york and florida. this is why they sent their undefeated horse there in 2012. he wins the 2012 wood memorial and finishes up the track in the kentucky derby. why would sensible person run their horse in the wood ? remember super saver was a third string horse who went to the arkansas derby and then won pletcher's only kentucky derby. but win star isnt smart enough to recognize that path. they send revolutionary down to louisiana where the girls ran better than the boys again. the kentucky oaks looks like a better field, again. the fairground and gulfstream oaks should be the $million races. the louisiana and florida derbies should be only half of that. run the derby on friday and the kentucky oaks on saturday.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
i do not mind or care if people make predictions ,picks or top 10 lists.if you are wrong,there is no accountability.but i understand people enjoy this. so pluck away.my only request is when making a selection,stick with it.all of a sudden dreaming of julia is not only the best 3 yo filly,she is the best 3 yo.last week after bafferts filly romped,she was the best.the fillies this year are top notch.there are 3 to 5 of them that stick out.the oaks should be a fun race.but to the people that claim julia is the top 3 yo.where were you in her previous race when she lost.where were you when she lost in the breeders cup.so please when selecting,stick with your pick.do not always follow the wind direction
Mark More than 1 year ago
Lol ...
John Putz More than 1 year ago
Tom, Julia's last race was her first off a layoff, so you can throw that out, and she just missed. She is absolutely the best looking 3yo filly, as I have some questions about the class of the other fillys that Midnight Lucky ran against.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Rudy gets his picture taken... His mug shot.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
poor taste but cute.at least i got a chuckle.nice job
scott More than 1 year ago
Not really poor taste, shoe fits....wear it. Might need more than one roll of film
iknownothing114 More than 1 year ago
Orb then the pletchers no more that's it's. What's the hype with Norman inv. He's slowww
Perl More than 1 year ago
People like horses that come from behind. This horse has shown enough for people to think he might enjoy 10f at CD if he can only get there. He also ran his best race of his career on the Big A outer and there's reason to believe he can run huge Saturday second off a layoff with a good pace to run at at.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
jttf More than 1 year ago
dont forget that todd hasnt won a b.c. classic. which is also 10 furlongs on dirt, usually.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Won the 1 1/2 Belmont with a filly .
Mark More than 1 year ago
Todd Pletcher Johnny V Javier #1 Lol
Flipper More than 1 year ago
V with Mr Rosario is the winner. Velasquez and Castellano are both winning because of Pletcher. Rosario does not ride for Pletcher and he is beating them both. He just won 10 billion dollars yesterday and he will keep winning it from now on. Just made a fortune yesterday because of Mr Rosario. Hoping they over bet Velazquez again, just like Overanalyze...Its going to be a big payday again. Quit dreaming Velasquez/Castellano fans, those days are over. Mr Rosario is taking over!!!!!
michael stapler More than 1 year ago
Timothy Charlotte More than 1 year ago
Dreaming of Julia is the best 3year old, male or female...Her win was an AWESOME performance
John Howland More than 1 year ago
Her performance might have been too awesome.Her big race is 5 weeks from now(K Oaks).Do you really expect her to improve on Saturday's performance?She might not have to,but that was too fast too soon.
Wabstat More than 1 year ago
She did it under wraps. Five weeks is plenty of time to recover. Her beyer was 114 vs. Orb's 97 on the same racetrack. Unless there is another superstar filly out there somewhere, she will gallop in the Oaks. Rachel revisited.
Joel Winicki More than 1 year ago
The best filly in the country is relative to the distance they are running. Nobody better than Beholder at a mile or under.......maybe even 1 1/16.
tyc More than 1 year ago
Usually when you got too many horses to ride at the end you got no ride at all or you pick a bad one.