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Verrazano Works at Palm Meadows Ahead of Wood Memorial

Undefeated Verrazano worked five furlongs in 1:01.17 Sunday morning at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida.

The work completed the colt’s major preparations for an expected start in Saturday’s $1 million Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Verrazano

Verrazano

With Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez aboard for the work, Verrazano was sent in company with Discreet Dancer, who was credited with the same time, fastest of 15 at the distance. Discreet Dancer, who exits a 5 ¼-length victory in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 9, is bound for the Grade 1 Carter Handicap on the Wood undercard.

“I thought it was another excellent work, pretty much what we have come to expect of [Verrazano] in the morning,” trainer Todd Pletcher said by phone. “It was very good, and a strong gallop out; very pleased. Discreet Dancer also worked well and is on schedule for the Carter.”

Campaigned by Let’s Go Stable, Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, and Derrick Smith, Verrazano broke his maiden on New Year’s Day at Gulfstream Park, airing by 7 ¾ lengths over 10 rivals, then earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 105 winning a one-mile optional claiming race by 16 ¾ lengths a month later. His stakes debut came in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 9, which he won by three lengths after bobbling at the break.

“We felt like he got a little bit of experience in Tampa in that he got behind a horse and got a little bit of dirt,” Pletcher said. “Some experience certainly can help you in what I’m sure will be a full gate at Churchill. [Additional experience in the Wood], and the mile-and-an-eighth distance should also be helpful, hopefully, in preparing him for the Derby if we’re fortunate enough to go that route.”

Pletcher said that Verrazano and Discreet Dancer are scheduled to arrive in New York on Wednesday.

Verrazano/Heeney photo