The field is set for the $1 million Haskell, where Nyquist will be trying to re-stake his claim as the top three-year-old in the country.
Verrazano Makes a Statement in Haskell
It’s looking like the Kentucky mud is the only thing that can stop Verrazano. After a Spring campaign during which the Kentucky-bred son of More Than Ready reeled off four […]
It’s looking like the Kentucky mud is the only thing that can stop Verrazano. After a Spring campaign during which the Kentucky-bred son of More Than Ready reeled off four straight wins – including the Grade I Wood Memorial and Grade II Tampa Bay Derby – his connections had high hopes for the Run for the Roses back in May. But on a wet day and a muddy Churchill Downs track, Verrazano put in a dull effort, finishing well back of the winner, Orb.
Runs away from the field in stretch drive
But it hasn’t taken him long to find his winning form again. After a tune-up 9-length victory in the Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes, Verrazano stepped back up to top-level competition on Saturday, and then proceeded to blow them all away in the $1 million Grade I William Hill Haskell Invitational, winning by an easy 9 ¾ lengths. After tracking close to the pace set by Preakness winner Oxbow, jockey John Velazquez moved Verrrazano outside on the far turn and the colt simply swept into the lead and kicked away in the stretch.
Verrazano now takes aim at Travers Stakes
Chasing fairly slow fractions on the Monmouth Park dirt, Power Broker and Rosie Napravnik managed to get up for second, with Micromanage taking the photo for third. Verrazano now runs his record to six wins in seven lifetime starts, and puts his name in the conversation as the favorite going into the Travers Stakes at Saratoga in mid-August. Whether Oxbow will go to New York is less certain, as he came out of the Haskell with a bad ankle. It was hoped the Travers would see a duel between all three winners of this year’s Triple Crown races.
On Sunday at Monmouth Park, the featured race is the $300,000 United Nations Stakes. Scheduled to be run at a mile and three-eighths on the turf, the Grade 1 event has drawn a field of ten colts and geldings.
On Sunday at Monmouth Park, the featured race is the $150,000 Pegasus Stakes, a key prep race for the Haskell Invitational (G1). The Grade 3 event will be contested at a mile and a sixteenth and has drawn a field of seven three-year-olds.