Verrazano: romped to victory in the Haskell Invitational in JulyPICTURE: Jessie Holmes/EquiSport Photos
Stud duties on hold as Verrazano joins O'Brien
VERRAZANO, one of the top three-year-old colts in the US last year and an impressive winner of the Haskell Invitational Stakes, will join Aidan O'Brien for a European campaign in 2014.
It was thought the son of More Than Ready, whose other top-level win came in the Wood Memorial, would be retired to stand at Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Kentucky.
However, a successful European campaign will help raise the profile of the former Todd Pletcher inmate, who could run at Royal Ascot in the summer.
"It makes sense for Verrazano to move to Europe as he has achieved so much already here," said Pletcher, quoted on Coolmore's website.
"The owners [Coolmore partners John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith] love to have their best horses run at Royal Ascot and a win there would be of great benefit to his stallion career."
Dermot Ryan, manager of Ashford Stud, added: "Being the best son of More Than Ready, who is doing so well as a sire in Australia, we feel that a European campaign would raise his profile when the time comes for him to shuttle there."
Verrazano, 16-1 with Paddy Power for the Breeders' Cup Classic, finished down the field in the Kentucky Derby, but bounced back in stunning style with a brilliant win in the Haskell. He was fourth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile before claiming third on his final start of the year in the Cigar Mile.
O'Brien saddled Darwin to win a Group 3 at the Curragh in July after the son of Big Brown switched from Pletcher last year.