With the 2-year-old sale season kicking off at Ocala Breeders' Sales March 13, BloodHorse MarketWatch editor Eric Mitchell contacted some of the leading pinhookers and breaking and training outfits to collect their insights on the progeny of this year's freshman sires.
Verrazano didn't start at 2, but the conformation of many of his progeny strongly favor More Than Ready , Verrazano's sire who has produced 142 black-type juvenile performers worldwide, including 67 black-type winners.
"Certainly, the ones that we're around look so much like More Than Ready, which has an appeal all its own, because he's one of my favorite sires," said Nick de Meric, the third-leading consignor of 2-year-olds by gross sales in 2017. "They are blocky, well-made, balanced, precocious horses that look like they'll be versatile. More Than Ready can leave one a little short-bodied, but they are athletic. As we have started leaning on those, they are thriving on the pressure, and that's a promising sign."
Bred by Emory Hamilton in Kentucky, Verrazano sold for $250,000 to Let's Go Stable out of the Middlebrook Farm consignment at the 2011 Keeneland September sale. He broke his maiden at first asking Jan. 1 of his sophomore year and quickly was co-owned by longtime partners and Coolmore associates Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith. The colt out of graded stakes producer Enchanted Rock (Giant's Causeway ) won four graded stakes at 3, including the Wood Memorial (G1) and the William Hill Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1). He retired with $1,878,013 in earnings and now stands at Ashford Stud.
Eddie Woods, the leading 2-year-old consignor by gross in 2017, also sees a lot of More Than Ready in the juveniles he has and sees a lot of potential.
"They're very smooth horses. Good movers, athletic, and you want to say 'so far, so good' with them," Woods said.
Jeanne Mayberry, whose farm near Ocala, Fla., broke and trained Horse of the the Year Zenyatta, said she is excited about the potential of Verrazano's progeny.
"We work very hard to pick horses that we like, and after the breaking and training, I like so many, but that's how it's supposed to work," Mayberry said. "That being said, my two Verazzano fillies are very good-sized, with good bone. They are smart and have a beautiful way of going, and look (like) they are going to have some speed."
Niall Brennan, a regular among the top five 2-year-old consignors by gross sales, said his Verrazano colt entered in the Ocala Breeders' Sales (Hip 532) more closely resembles his broodmare sire, Seeking the Gold.
"He is a big, strong horse—about 16.2 (hands)—and a powerful horse," Brennan said. "Assuming all goes well, he should be attractive, because he's a gorgeous horse. This lad is a strong, stout horse. He won't be a five-furlong horse."
This week, BloodHorse Daily has been profiling freshman sires whose juveniles are standing out ahead of the 2-year-olds in training sales. In the coming days, we'll look at Will Take Charge , and some of the regional stallions attracting attention will be profiled as well, including Florida sires He's Had Enough and Uncaptured and New York sire Central Banker . More in-depth statistical information for all the freshman sires will be available in the BloodHorse MarketWatch section of the March 10 BloodHorse magazine.