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Dave W. Harmon

Verrazano to Race in Europe in 2014

Colt has been sent to Ballydoyle Stables, where he will be trained by Aidan O'Brien.

Dual grade I winner Verrazano  will remain in training in 2014, rather than retiring to stand at Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky.

The news was confirmed Feb. 2 in a release sent by Coolmore spokesman Richard Henry, who noted Verrazano had been transferred to Coolmore's Ireland-based Ballydoyle Stables to be trained by Aidan O'Brien.

"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," said Ashford Stud manager Dermot Ryan in the release.

Ashford previously listed Verrazano on its stud fee roster in November, but never announced his fee.

Verrazano rose to the top of the 3-year-old ranks last year by virtue of his decisive scores in the Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I)  William Hill Haskell Invitational (gr. I) by a record 9 3/4 lengths, Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II), and Pegasus Stakes (gr. III).

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In his final start of the season, he finished third in the Cigar Mile (gr. I) behind Flat Out  .

"It makes sense for Verrazano to move to Europe as he has achieved so much already here," said Todd Pletcher, who trained the colt last year on behalf of Let's Go Stable, Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier, and Derrick Smith. "The owners love to have their best horses run at Royal Ascot, and a win there would be of great benefit to his stallion career."

Bred in Kentucky by Emory Hamilton, Verrazano was purchased for $250,000 by Let's Go Stable at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale from Middlebrook Farm, agent. He was raced in his first two starts by that ownership group before the Coolmore representatives obtained an interest in the colt. His career record now stands at 6-0-1 from 10 starts, for earnings of $1,691,300.

Out of the Giant's Causeway  mare Enchanted Rock, Verrazano is a half brother to grade II winner El Padrino .