The Franklin-Simpson Mile will now be known as the More Than Ready Mile and will be worth $200,000, Kentucky Downs announced yesterday whilst dual G.1 winner Verrazano will retire to stud this season.
The race will be held Saturday, Sept. 13. “It is an honor to involve WinStar Farm in the upcoming live season and to rename our prestigious one mile event the More Than Ready Mile,” said Kentucky Downs President Corey Johnsen.
“More Than Ready has international acclaim as a stallion, so it is appropriate that he be identified with our unique one mile course, which is run with one long sweeping turn.” Elliot Walden, President and CEO of WinStar Farm where More Than Ready stands at stud, added, “WinStar is proud to be associated with such a lucrative and high profile day of racing at Kentucky Downs. More Than Ready is a world class stallion, so he was an obvious choice as the namesake for this stakes race.”
Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith’s boom colt Verrazano (c, 4, More Than Ready–Enchanted Rock, by Giant’s Causeway), winner of last year’s GI Wood Memorial S. at Aqueduct and GI William Hill Haskell Invitational S. at Monmouth Park, has been retired from racing and will stand at Ashford Stud next season.
“Verrazano was found to be lame after [the finish of the G1] Eclipse [July 5], and although it is not a significant injury, time would not permit us to have him ready for the Breeders’ Cup, so the decision has been made to retire him,” trainer Aidan O’Brien said. “It’s very disappointing as he ran two lovely races on his first two starts for us and we had been looking forward to a great season with him.”
Bred in Kentucky by Emory A. Hamilton, the $250,000 KEESEP yearling purchase was campaigned at three in the U.S. by Let’s Go Stable and trainer Todd Pletcher.
The More Than Ready stallion made an immediate impression in the U.K finishing third in the G1 JT Lockinge S. on debut before being runner up in the G1 Queen Anne S. prior to his last start in the G1 Eclipse.
“Verrazano is a striking individual to a look at–a really gorgeous horse,” Pletcher said. “He always impressed me, both in the mornings and in the afternoons. His run in the Haskell was a monstrous effort. He just blew them away that day.”
Verrazano, a half-brother to El Padrino (Pulpit), GSW, $326,770, began his career with four straight wins, including the GII Tampa Bay Derby and the aforementioned Wood Memorial. He was also a runaway winner of the GIII Pegasus S. at Monmouth and finished third in the GI Cigar Mile H. last November.
Verrazano retires with a record of 13-6-1-2 and earnings of $1,877,983.