VINERY already have a Kentucky Derby winner on the roster in Big Brown, but look set to have a Kentucky Derby sire with More Than Ready set to add the Classic to his trophy cabinet.
More Than Ready son Verrazano is tipped to become the first horse since Vinery resident Big Brown to go into, and come out of a Kentucky Derby intact.
Unbeaten in all four starts so far, Verrazano opened his account with a 7 3/4-lens win at Gulfstream on New Year’s Day before returning a month later to post a 16 1/4-lens victory.
The Todd Pletcher trained colt subsequently breezed through his first stakes test, taking out the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby by 3-lens.
Verrazano managed to tighten his hold on Kentucky Derby favouritism with a last start win in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.
And while the margin was only slight by Verrazano standards, Hall of Fame trainer Pletcher believes the experience will stand him in good stead at Churchill Downs.
“I think he’s still learning, he’s had a tendency to kind of idle a little bit and wait on company down the lane, I thought he did that a little bit,” he said.
“It’s the first time he really had horses real close to him at the finish of a race. Hopefully, every step we make is a learning experience for him and he learns to polish these races off a little better.”
Verrazano is a colt and arguably the most talked about future stallion prospect in the US at present.
He already has a place booked at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Kentucky and is highly likely to shuttle to their Australian franchise boosting the number of profile of More Than Ready sons at stud.
Widden’s Golden Slipper winner Sebring has made a fruitful start to his stud career with eight stakes horses from his first crop.
Vinery meanwhile have high hopes for More Than Ready son Pluck who covered a full of mares in his first season in 2012.
Pluck, like this weekend’s Kentucky Derby hopeful Verrazano, was trained by Todd Pletcher and one half of the stallion/trainer’s remarkable Breeders’ Cup Juvenile double in 2010.
Pletcher also trained More Than Ready throughout his illustrious career making him better qualified than anyone to compare the father and son.
“More Than Ready will always be one of my favourite horses; he was one of, if not the first, really good ones I trained,” Pletcher said.
“He was such a talented horse with such a great disposition and it is very satisfying to see him go on and do well as a sire not only here (in the United States), but in Australia where is a real phenomenon.
“Pluck is almost a clone of More Than Ready himself, he is almost black in colour and has a very similar head.
“If you looked at the pictures of the two horses as two-year-olds, the similarities are amazing,” Pletcher said.
SKY Racing2 will screen the Kentucky Derby live at 8.24 a.m AEST on Sunday morning.