Easy kill for Kentucky Derby favourite

More Than Ready colt Verrazano stretched his unbeaten record to three-from-three in the G2 Tampa Bay Derby (1700m) in Florida on Saturday.

Verrazano (3c More Than Ready – Enchanted Rock by Giant’s Causeway) won his first two starts by a combined 24 lengths and he added another three panels to that margin in Florida.  The Todd Pletcher trained colt was prominent throughout under John Velazquez and he applied pressure to front-runner Falling Sky (Lion Heart) before cruising home in the straight.

“He is a lot like his sire More Than Ready,” trainer Todd Pletcher said.  “He has a great disposition and a great mind but you always worry.  This was his first time a new track, the first time around two turns, the first time in a stakes.  So we had a lot of variables he hadn’t seen before and he seemed to handle them real well.

“It looked like he was very relaxed throughout.  When he made the lead, he kind of pricked his ears like he tends to do and seemed like he was waiting a little on the competition.”

The More Than Ready colt was a firming $10 favourite for the Kentucky Derby before Saturdays result and he’s bound to be in single figures when the latest betting pool is released this week.

Verrazano is a half-brother to G2 winner El Padrino (Pulpit) who took out the 2012 Risen Star Stakes.  He was initially bought by Bryan Sullivan and Kevin Scatuorchio for $250,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale.

The Let’s Go Stable managers sold a share to Coolmore Stud last month.  Pletcher will choose among three final Kentucky Derby preps for Verrazano’s next start — the G1 Florida Derby on March 30, G1 Wood Memorial on April 6 or the G1 Arkansas Derby on April 13.

Verrazano is the 112th stakes winner for Vinery champion More Than Ready.  He follows Perth filly Moreish who became his 111th when successful in the LR WA 1000 Guineas (1800m) at Ascot earlier on Saturday.

– Karl Patterson