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Chad B. Harmon

GI Winner Verrazano Retired to Ashford Stud

Injury cuts short campaign in England; More Than Ready colt to stand in Kentucky.

After a 2014 season that saw him add a pair of group I placings on turf in England to his resume, grade I winner Verrazano  has been retired.

Coolmore reports that the 2013 William Hill Haskell Invitational Stakes (gr. I) winner will stand at Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky., next season. Coolmore said the decision was made after a minor injury that would not have allowed him enough time to be ready to compete in the Breeders' Cup World Championships. 

After some consideration was given to retiring Verrazano after last season, Coolmore ultimately decided to race the 4-year-old son of More Than Ready  on turf in Europe this season. Coolmore officials noted such a campaign could raise Verrazano's profile in Australia.

Verrazano registered a runner-up finish to Toronado in the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) at one mile, and a third-place finish to Olympic Glory in the JLT Lockinge Stakes (Eng-I). In his third start in England this season, he finished ninth in the Coral Eclipse (Eng-I) July 5 at Sandown Park. The injury was discovered after the race.

"Verrazano was found to be lame after the Eclipse 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," said trainer Aidan O'Brien in a release. "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 Hamilton, Verrazano is out of the Giant's Causeway  mare Enchanted Rock. Last season he won four stakes, including the Haskell and Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I), for trainer Todd Pletcher.

"Verrazano is a striking individual to a look at: a really gorgeous horse," Pletcher said in a release. "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."