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Aug 02, 2013

Verrazano blows away field to win Haskell


Oceanport, NJ (Sports Network) - Even-money favorite Verrazano, ridden by John Velazquez, put away Preakness champ Oxbow on the final turn and posted a decisive victory in Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

Trained by Todd Pletcher for Let's Go Stable and partners, Verrazano stalked pacesetter and 3-1 second pick Oxbow with 5-1 third choice Power Broker racing third in the seven-horse field.

The favorite took over the lead on the final turn with Power Broker moving into second as Oxbow began to tire. Coming out of the turn, Verrazano pulled away from his six rivals and drove to a 9 3/4-length victory in the 1 1/8- mile stakes.

Power Broker, ridden by Rosie Napravnik, was second followed by Pletcher's other runner Micromanage, Oxbow, Pick of the Litter, Vyjack and Golden Soul.

The time for the Haskell on a fast track was 1:50.68.

Verrazano recorded his second straight stakes win at Monmouth. He won the Pegasus Stakes by 9 1/4 lengths last month in his first start since finishing 14th in the Kentucky Derby.

Sunday's win was worth $600,000 to equal his earnings from his victory in the Wood Memorial on April 6. The 3-year-old colt has now banked $1,551,300 with seven wins in eight starts. He did not race as a 2-year-old.

It marks Pletcher's third win in the race going along with Bluegrass Cat (2006) and Any Given Saturday (2007). Velazquez had earlier won the Haskell aboard Bluegrass Cat.

Verrazano's victory in such an impressive fashion moves him into contention, along with Belmont and Jim Dandy Stakes winner Palace Malice, for the lead in this year's 3-year-old division.

Next up for the 3-year-olds is the $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday, August 24. Palace Malice and Kentucky Derby champ Orb have been confirmed for the race.

Verrazano returned $4.20, $3.20 and $2.10. Power Broker paid $4.80 and $3.60, and Micromanage paid $4.00 to show.

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