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Pletcher won the 2010 Kentucky Derby with Super Saver and also trained Kentucky Oaks winners Rags to Riches (2007) and Princess of Sylmar (2013). He won four straight Eclipse Awards as top trainer from 2004-2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014. The Texas native has also been the leading American conditioner by money won nine times since 2004. He's conditioned multiple Eclipse champions including Uncle Mo, Ashado, English Channel, Speighstown, Fleet Indian, Wait a While, Lawyer Ron, and Left Bank – and has saddled a co-record five starters in the Kentucky Derby twice before (2007 & 2013). Pletcher ranks second by Kentucky Derby starters with 40, trailing only living-legend D. Wayne Lukas.
John Velazquez has ridden in thirteen editions of the Kentucky Derby and won the 2011 Kentucky Derby aboard Animal Kingdom. He won the 2004 Kentucky Oaks with Ashado. John was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011 and was twice awarded the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey. He is a two time Belmont Stakes winner and has ridden 10 horses to victory in the Breeders' Cup. Other notable mounts include: Uncle Mo, Da Hoss, Lemon Drop Kid, Lawyer Ron, and Rags to Riches.
Let’s Go Stable (Kevin Scatuorchio & Bryan Sullivan), Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith
Let's Go Stable is a racing partnership started in 2006 and co owned by brother in laws, Kevin Scatuorchio and Bryan Sullivan. Kevin was introduced to racing through his father Jim who campaigned More Than Ready and champion Englis Channel among others. Let's Go Stable had immediate success with Ready's Echo and El Padrino. John Magnier is the driving force behind the worldwide Coolmore empire, which is based in Ireland but has outposts as far afield as the United States and Australia. He comes from a long line of horsemen, dating back to the mid-19th century, and his wife, Sue Magnier, is the daughter of the legendary Irish trainer Vincent O'Brien, whose list of stars includes Nijinsky II, the last English Triple Crown winner in 1970. With Magnier at the helm, Coolmore has stood such colossal stallions as Sadler's Wells and Danehill. Magnier's horses race in his wife's name; last season, the Magnier silks were hoisted to victory by the likes of Duke of Marmalade (Ire), Yeats (Ire) and Henrythenavigator. They are frequently involved in partnerships with betting shop tycoon Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith. The Magnier/Tabor tandem has been represented by such champions as Galileo (Ire), Giant's Causeway, High Chaparral (Ire), Dylan Thomas (Ire) and Johannesburg, while Magnier/Tabor/Smith have combined to campaign George Washington (Ire), Soldier of Fortune (Ire) and last year's stellar juveniles, Bushranger (Ire) and Mastercraftsman. Tabor and Smith raced multiple Grade 1 star Lion Heart, runner-up in the 2004 Kentucky Derby (G1). On his own accord, Tabor has raced an array of top-class horses in both Europe and the United States, chief among them the European hero Montjeu (Ire) and American champion Thunder Gulch, who captured the Kentucky Derby, Belmont (G1) and Travers (G1) in 1995.
More Than Ready--Enchanted Rock, by Giant's Causeway
Verrazano's pedigree doesn't guarantee that he'll love 1 1/4 miles, but it is laden with quality, and there could well be enough depth and substance to carry him through his distance test.
His sire, More Than Ready, was an outstanding juvenile who was also trained by Todd Pletcher. The winner of four straight stakes that campaign, capped by the Sanford at Saratoga, he couldn't maintain his streak once the distances began to increase to a mile or beyond. Yet he still came within a head of winning the 2000 Blue Grass, placed second in the Louisiana Derby, and finished an honorable fourth in the Kentucky Derby. Reverting to sprints in the latter part of the year, he scored a major win in the seven-furlong King's Bishop at Saratoga.
More Than Ready has had exceptional success at stud, especially in Australia, where his leading offspring include champion two-year-olds Sebring and Phelan Ready. Among his North American headliners are Regally Ready, hero of the 2011 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint; 2010 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf star Pluck; and More Than Real, winner of the 2010 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
More Than Ready has sired a few horses capable of staying much longer trips -- his high-class daughter More Joyous defeated males in Australia's 1 1/4-mile Queen Elizabeth Stakes last year, and another filly Down Under, Dreamaway, swept the 1 1/2-mile West Australian Oaks and W.A.T.C. Derby in 2011.
Verrazano will be relying on his dam's side of the pedigree to stretch More Than Ready's speed.
He is the second registered foal from Enchanted Rock, who was unplaced in her lone career race on turf. Her first, El Padrino, was prominent on the 2012 Derby trail. But after winning the Risen Star, he was only fourth in the Florida Derby and a disappointing 13th in the Kentucky Derby.
Enchanted Rock is by European champion Giant's Causeway, a son of Storm Cat who racked up five straight Group 1 wins, from a mile up to 1 1/4 miles, in the summer of 2000. Giant's Causeway has become a prolific stallion, siring high-caliber individuals effective over a variety of distances, on every kind of surface, around the globe. His best dirt runners were Eskendereya, the hot favorite for the 2010 Kentucky Derby before his career-ending injury, and Santa Anita Handicap hero Heatseeker, while his turf stand-outs include two-time French classic winner Shamardal and American-based Aragorn.
Daughters of Giant's Causeway are making their presence felt as producers. They are responsible for millionaire Evening Jewel, winner of the Ashland on Polytrack and the Del Mar Oaks on turf, and a near-misser in the 2010 Kentucky Oaks on dirt; French Group 1 stars Planteur and Beauty Parlour; and South African champion Soft Falling Rain, currently on a tear in Dubai.
Enchanted Rock is out of 1987 Ashland winner Chic Shirine, a Mr. Prospector mare. Chic Shirine produced two Grade 2-winning full siblings with starkly different aptitudes -- her daughter Tara Roma landed the 1 1/4-mile Ladies Handicap, and her son Waldoboro (both by Lyphard) scored in the six-furlong True North Handicap. Tara Roma went on to produce Grade 1 queen Serra Lake. Chic Shirine's other descendants include smart turf performers Al Khali, Hungry Island, Somali Lemonade and Baraan, as well as dirt miler Soaring Empire.
Chic Shirine is herself a full sister to Queena, the champion older mare of 1991. Queena was a one-turn specialist with victories in such major events as the Ballerina, Maskette and Ruffian (then held at Belmont Park). As a broodmare, Queena foaled Brahms, winner of the Hollywood Derby over nine furlongs on turf, and Grade 3 victress La Reina.
Chic Shirine and Queena are daughters of Too Chic, the 1982 Maskette winner, who appears as Verrazano's third dam in the maternal line. His fifth dam is French and English champion Monade, who landed the 1962 Oaks at Epsom and finished second in the prestigious Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
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