was a happy and hungry horse the morning after his gritty victory in
the Grade 1, $1 million Wood Memorial, and is scheduled to depart next
Sunday for Churchill Downs as the early favorite for the Kentucky
“The horse came back in great order,” said Michael McCarthy,
assistant to winning trainer Todd Pletcher, who now has won three of the
past four runnings of the Wood,
with Eskendereya (2010) and Gemologist (2012). “Everything is good.”
Owned in partnership by Let’s Go Stable, Michael Tabor, Mrs.
John Magnier and Derrick Smith, Verrazano will carry a 4-for-4 record
with him to
Louisville. The More Than Ready colt broke his maiden on January 1 at
Park, added a 16 ¼-length optional claiming
victory there on February 2, and annexed the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on
March 9 prior to his three-quarter-length win in the Wood.
“Looking at the race, he was waiting on horses and every time he
was challenged, he answered the call,” said McCarthy. “It was a very
good prep race. He got a lot out
of it without doing too much.”
In addition to more than tripling his earnings to $861,300 and
giving Let’s Go Stable its first Grade 1 win, Verrazano earned 100
points in the
Derby qualifying system and with 150 total points shares the top spot in the standings with the Shug McGaughey-trained Orb.
Beginning with Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox in 1930, 11
horses have completed the Wood-Derby double, most recently Fusaichi
Pegasus in 2000.