Verrazano Set for European Debut in Lockinge

Verrazano Set for European Debut in Lockinge
Photo: Chad Harmon
Two-time United States grade I winner Verrazano  , a prominent 3-year-old last year, makes his first European start May 17 in the JLT Lockinge Stakes (Eng-I) at Newbury. 
Initial plans called for Verrazano, winner of last year's Wood Memorial Stakes and Haskell Invitational Stakes (both gr. I), to stand stud in 2014 at Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky. But he was instead shipped to Coolmore's Ireland-based Ballydoyle Stables to be trained by Aidan O'Brien for a European campaign.
Verrazano makes his first start on turf in the Lockinge, a one-mile race that drew seven other runners. He is pegged the 5-1 second choice by British bookmakers while Al Shaqab Racing's two-time group I winner Olympic Glory is at even money.
A leading hopeful on the Triple Crown trail last year, Verrazano won his first four career starts topped off with his victory in the Wood. He suffered his first career loss in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands! (gr. I) after racing up close early before fading to 14th on a sloppy, sealed track. He rebounded to win the Pegasus Stakes (gr. III) by 9 1/4 lengths at Monmouth Park and followed with a record 9 3/4-length victory at the New Jersey track in the Haskell Invitational Stakes (gr. I). In his final start of the season, he finished third in the Cigar Mile (gr. I) behind Flat Out  
Racing last year for Let's Go Stable and Coolmore and partners, the son of More Than Ready   closed his U.S. campaign for trainer Todd Pletcher with a 6-0-1 record from 10 career starts that included a win in the 2013 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II). 
Olympic Glory, a 4-year-old son of Choisir, was a French group I winner as a 2-year-old. At 3, he captured the QIPCO Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I) in October at Ascot, defeating Keith Brown's Top Notch Tonto, who reopposes in the Lockinge. Olympic Glory subsequently finished ninth in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), finding the firm turf at Santa Anita Park unsuitable. 
Other entrants include Qatar Racing's German-trained Chopin, who was seventh in last year's Epsom Derby (Eng-I) and supplemented to the Lockinge earlier this week.
For entries, click here

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