MORE Than Ready colt Verrazano’s grip on the 139th Kentucky Derby became a stranglehold after the Todd Pletcher trained 3YO took out the Tampa Bay Derby Gr.2 (1700m) in Florida on Sunday.

A winner of his only two previous starts by 7 3/4-lens at 16 1/4-lens, Verrazano started odds on and again made light work of his opposition idling down to the wire 3-lens clear of Java’s War with Falling Sky a further 4 1/4-lens away in third.

The last horse to complete the Tampa Bay Derby/Kentucky Derby double was Street Sense in 2007 whilst Super Saver was third at tampa before going on to win the Derby in ’09.

Verrazano’s Tampa Bay Derby win makes him the 112th individual stakeswinner sired by More Than Ready who finished fourth behind Fusaichi Pegasus in the 2000 Kentucky Derby.

“It was a good performance,” Pletcher said. “He is a lot like his sire, More Than Ready; he has a great disposition and a great mind. You always worry about the variables – his first time shipping to a new place, 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.”


More Than Ready has sired 4 new stakeswinners within the past fortnight including the Danny O’Brien-trained Excitable Boy who took out the Listed VRC Festival Of Racing Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on March 2.

Meanwhile at Ascot in Western Australia, Lark Hill filly Moreish further underlined the remarkable relationship between More Than Ready and Danehill mares after she won the Listed WATC 1000 Guineas (1600m) on Saturday.

The nick has delivered over 50 individual winners including Group 1 winners Benicio, Dreamaway and Perfectly Ready as well as stakeswinners Mahisara, Al Aneed, Ready To Rip, Readyor and the Golden Slipper/Oakleigh Plate placegetter, Elite Falls.