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Verrazano Happy & Hungry After Wood Win

Verrazano, ridden by John Velazquez, wins the Wood Memorial Stakes on Wood Memorial Day at Aqueduct Race Track in Ozone Park, New York on April 6, 2013
Undefeated Verrazano 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 Derby.

 

“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 Gulfstream 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.

 

 

 

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