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HRN Original Blog:
A New York State of Racing

Impressive Victory for Verrazano in the Haskell

With an overwhelming nine and three-quarter length victory in the 2013 Haskell Invitational, Verrazano has returned to prominence in the three year-old division. Still with only one career loss, Verrazano recorded his sixth victory and moved his total earnings to over $1.5 million.
Trainer Todd Pletcher talked about where Verrazano now stands in the division. “I would say we made a huge statement today. That was certainly one of the, if not the most, impressive performances that any three year-old has run this year and I can’t think of too many more that were better than that. Really ever.”
The victory margin was a new record for the Haskell eclipsing the previous mark of seven lengths that had been set by Bluegrass Cat in 2006.
The race began as expected with Oxbow taking the lead for the first half-mile. At that point Verrazano began to contest the lead on the outside of Oxbow. Shortly after Power Broker began to make a move at the top two.
Verrazano’s trainer Todd Pletcher described the race from that point. “You couldn’t have drawn it up any better. He broke well. He put himself in a good stalking position. He was relaxed. When Power Broker came up to his hip at the half-mile pole and Johnny [jockey Velazquez] kind of asked him to go, he immediately took control of the race and it was pretty much over at that point.”
The record margin of victory adds to the already impressive record of Verrazano. “I think this was his most impressive race,” said Pletcher as he recapped Verrazano’s career. “You’re talking about a horse that is near perfect aside from the sloppy track at Churchill. His maiden win was impressive, his allowance win at Gulfstream was ultra- impressive. He won the Tampa Derby despite not liking the track. He beat some very good horses in the Wood Memorial. You throw out the Derby on a track that he hated and it’s pretty hard to pick apart his resume.
Verrazano brought Pletcher his third victory in the Haskell. Pletcher won the race in 2006 and 2007 with Bluegrass Cat and Any Given Saturday.
The final time for the nine furlongs was 1:50.63 over a Monmouth Park track that had been playing slowly all weekend long. Pletcher said, “He’s capable of handling a distance of a mile and an eighth or more.  The way he finished over what was a very demanding deep and tiring track throughout the week. He finished strongly and pricking his ears at the finish line like he was looking for more.”
Oxbow began to fade after three-quarters and ended up finishing fourth. His jockey Gary Stevens said, “I thought I was in a good position early, but when I called on him he just didn’t have the same horse underneath me that he’s had in his previous races. It was very disappointing.”
Verrazano is now likely to take Oxbow’s place in the Travers as the top three year-olds will square off for division supremacy in Saratoga on August 24. 


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Older Comments about Impressive Victory for Verrazano in the Haskell...

I've always liked Verrazano, but I haven't really been impressed by him until today. I was not expecting such a big effort from him. I can't wait to see what he does in the Travers
:) Anytime.
A secret thanks to Mary Z.
And the 116 BSF points out how slow the track had been playing all day long! Big number for Pletcher's big horse.
The margin of victory in Haskell was extremely impressive. The relative time that distance was fairly slow. If you look at all the results all of the times were slow today. In my opinion it puts Verrazano right in the picture of 3-year-old champion. Bring on Palace Malice in the Travers.
I agree...this year's Travers is potentially going to be very exciting.
Spot on Brian. I too remember Quality Road, lights out to 9F but never won at 10F.
Very impressive ... I hope this leads to a showdown with Palace Malice and Orb in the Travers

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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.


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