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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Verrazano’s Last Stand


A lot has happened in 2013. If you are talking about the racing career of Verrazano ... everything has happened in 2013. The talented son of More Than Ready never raced at two, and will never race again after this year, but from New Year’s Day until Thanksgiving weekend, not many horses have garnered more attention than Verrazano. At his best, he has been everything you could want to see in a thoroughbred race horse. A powerhouse with speed, many of his races have ended with him sprinting away from his competition with disdainful ease. There have been other times, though, when the strapping bay has looked all too mortal. A winner of 6-of-9, it has either been feast or famine for Verrazano in 2013. Six impressive victories have been checkered by three high profile losses. One week away from an excellent field assembling for Aqueduct’s Cigar Mile, I cannot help but wonder just which Verrazano we will see in his seasonal, and career finale.


Will it be the colt who Todd Pletcher unveiled to run away from maiden and allowance fields this winter at Gulfstream? Combined he won those first two career races by 24 lengths and in real race horse time. Or maybe we will see the Verrazano that struggled in the Kentucky slop, and spit the bit by the time the Derby field had hit the famous homestretch. His undefeated star fell as fast as it took Orb to run right by him on that damp afternoon.


But Verrazano rebounded from Derby disappointment, and perhaps his stock rose even higher with two smashing performances on the Jersey Shore. Itsmyluckyday may have been injured in the Pegasus, but that likely had no bearing on the outcome in Verrazano’s big first race after the Kentucky Derby. If you thought the Pegasus win was powerful, than you really had to like what you saw in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational. Verrazano was at his absolute best, leaving a good field of three-year-olds left in his dominating wake. 


Then came an important test in the Travers. Maybe 1 ¼ miles is just too far, because the 8-5 favorite had real no answers for the quartet of Will Take Charge, Moreno, Orb, and Palace Malice in the Mid-Summer Derby.


The highs have been high, and the lows have been low for Verrazano, but maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle. A three-length score in the Tampa Bay Derby, or a troubled, fourth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, (Johnny V was hotter than a steamed clam after the trip), might be more representative of the real Verrazano.


One thing is for sure, if he is to go out a winner in his swan song, he will have defeated the strongest field of his career in the Cigar Mile. With horses like Groupie Doll, Goldencents, Flat Out, Alpha, Private Zone, Forty Tales, Gentlemen’s Bet, Clearly Now and Capo Bastone also pointing for the November 30 Grade 1, its shaping up to be one of the more interesting events of the year. It would seem to win this one, we will need to see a patient Verrazano. One who can lay a bit off a sure to be fast early pace, and prove resolute down the Aqueduct stretch.

You know there was one Verrazano performance that I’ve failed to mention so far, and it just might be the one that holds the most bearing to his Cigar Mile chances. On April 6, Verrazano relaxed early, pounced on the turn, and then fought his way to victory in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial. Not only is it his only race so far at Aqueduct, but it is the only time that he has won a close race. This type of experence may become very important in the Cigar Mile, because if Verrazano is to make one last stand, and go out a winner, it’s going to take some real heart to get it done. 


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Older Comments about Verrazano’s Last Stand...

This is still up?
this horse needs 6F or 5 1/2 on the turf
Tossing bad races is one thing, but how does one toss the Haskell?
Figured him for a slippery little thing, but in his defense, probably cash transactions work best for him ;) jk
You are truly a sick puppy!!!!!
That's the same way I judge/rate my Nuru masseuse.
Amino,if one listens to many of the people here. Verrazano will be retired after making his 4t career start in the Cigar Mile. He ran 1rst out in the Derby,then went directly to the Travers and came full circle to the BC Mile. The connections must of thought highly of him to put him through such a limited yet strenuous schedule.You know i am a speed sheet player. The number that was given to him in the BC mile put him only 3 lengths behind Goldencents ,when the smoke cleared. That is how i judge /rate or whatever one calls it. I go by how fast they rub.Accomplishments to me are irrelevant ,unless you own or train the horse. By this i mean collecting the purses and fame that goes along with success.
doubtful this one will find a form lost since Spring
Verrazano isn't good enough against Goldencents and Groupie...I like Goldencents
Is it just me or Travel Vic comment is referring to himself as a third person or he forget which account he is login with?
I knew I liked you Marcello
As a Pats fan, it was certainly a game loaded with highs and lows. I hate the way it finished, but meh....6 straight wins for Brady vs Manning.
What a way for a game to end. Turnaround's a bitch. Largest comeback in Patriot's history.
Good one,you are truly a sicko.Made me laugh very much.Have a good one, need to watch the OT
What about Charlie Jan.
Stenerud or Nerud. We made it easy for you Vic.
Does the first name Jan ring a bell?
Blabs,are you watching the game.Is this a replay of last years Niner game.
Maybe he is done with racing as it sure as hell is done with us the fans!
Laz,you are right.Vic has not responded. Usually he is faster than the FLASH. Could a clue be Kelso Laz?????


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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.