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“In the last 30 years, only three horses that didn't win a Triple Crown race have been named champion 3-year-old. And two of those, Holy Bull and Tiznow, won the Haskell. Holy Bull also went on to win the Travers. And after Sunday's race, Verrazano's trainer, Todd Pletcher, articulated the obvious by saying he would look at the Travers at Saratoga for the colt's next start. "He made a statement today," Pletcher said about Verrazano. More than a statement, though, it was an announcement. Of course, Pletcher also has Palace Malice for the Travers, and the Belmont winner sparkled while winning Saturday's Jim Dandy, running the 1 ⅛ miles in 1:47.37, with a final three-eighths in 36.14 seconds. And so the Travers looms as the race of the year in the division. Orb, the Kentucky Derby winner, has targeted the Travers for his return, but he'll have to win it in Birdstone fashion, off a lengthy layoff, if he's to grab the crown. Oxbow, depending on how he came out of the Haskell after faltering badly, could show up. The most serious threat to the Pletcher duo could be Will Take Charge, who ran second in the Jim Dandy. He charged home in 35.14 seconds for the final three furlongs, suggesting the 1 ¼ miles of the Travers could be his cup of oolong, and his Hall of Fame trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, always has maintained lofty ambitions for the colt despite some discouraging performances. And over the last 30 years, only one 3-year-old that didn't win a Triple Crown race was named Horse of the Year. That was Tiznow in 2000, when he won the Breeders' Cup Classic. Yes, Verrazano just might be good enough. Here's an updated line on the race for champion 3-year-old: 1. Verrazano (4-5): He has the title with a win in the Travers or against older horses later.
He made a statement today.” -- Todd Pletcher, Verrazano trainer