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Mar 15, 2013

Verrazano claims top spot in NTRA 3-Year-Old Poll


New York, NY (Sports Network) - A dominating victory in last Saturday's Tampa Bay Derby propelled Verrazano to the top of this week's NTRA 3-Year-Old Poll. Santa Anita Handicap winner Game On Dude remained solidly in first in the National Poll.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Verrazano advanced from fourth to first after winning the Tampa Bay Derby by three lengths. The colt received 27 first-place votes and 475 points. He is likely to make his next start in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 6.

"The way he has finished his mile and mile-and-a-sixteenth races, I don't see another sixteenth being much of an issue. To come here and get 50 Kentucky Derby points, everyone can take a deep breath and see what happens next," Pletcher noted.

Holy Bull Stakes champ Itsmyluckyday dropped a spot to second with 10 top votes and 401 points. Trained by Ed Plesa Jr., the colt will start next in the Florida Derby on March 30.

Holding on to third is Orb, winner of the Fountain of Youth Stakes. The colt, trained by Shug McGaughey, picked up six top votes and 378 points. Orb is also expected to start in the Florida Derby.

Gotham Stakes winner Vyjack remains in fourth-place with seven first-place votes and 324 points. Trained by Rudy Rodriguez, the gelding's next start will be the Wood Memorial.

The fifth spot continues to be held by champion colt Shanghai Bobby. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the Holy Bull runner-up received 259 points with no first- place votes.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Withers Stakes champ Revolutionary (2, 238), San Felipe Stakes winner Hear the Ghost (177), Southwest Stakes champ Super Ninety Nine (1, 169), San Felipe runner-up Flashback (160), and champion filly Beholder (60).

Game On Dude, trained by Bob Baffert, stays in the top spot of the National Poll with 34 first-place votes and 503 points. The 6-year-old gelding won the Big 'Cap after capturing the San Antonio Stakes to start 2013.

Royal Delta, two-time winner of the Ladies' Classic, remains second in the voting with five top votes and 418 points. Trained by Bill Mott, the 5-year- old mare won the Sabin Stakes by five lengths to begin her season.

Jumping up one spot into third is current Horse of the Year Wise Dan. Trained by Charles Lopresti, the 6-year-old gelding received 10 top votes and 327 points. Wise Dan is nominated to the Woodford Reserve Turf at Churchill Downs on May 4.

Slipping from third to fourth is Point of Entry, winner of the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. The 5-year-old horse received one top vote and 319 points.

Breeders' Cup Classic champ Fort Larned holds on to fifth although he unseated his rider at the start of last Saturday's Gulfstream Park Handicap. Trained by Ian Wilkes, the 5-year-old still got three first-place votes and 214 points.

"You don't like to get started like that," Wilkes said. "Hopefully, we got all the bad luck out of the way and we're just moving ahead. You had this race mapped out for four months and you know your horse is on the top of his game and ready to run. It was just a bad step. He was too sharp out of the box. It's just one of those things in racing."

The Top 10 is completed by Donn Handicap winner Graydar (182), Kilroe Mile champ Suggestive Boy (141), Big 'Cap runner-up Ron the Greek (131), Animal Kingdom (123) and Gulfstream Park Handicap champ Discreet Dancer (68).

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