At about the same time as Verrazano kicked into high gear at the top of the stretch in the Haskell, the wild scramble for the 3-year-old championship took on a new and rather orderly complexion. After different horses captured the three legs of the Triple Crown, it figured to be the job of the important summer and fall classics to settle the matter, and Verrazano surely promises to be a monstrous presence in that dicey process of sorting out the best of the best. Verrazano didn't just win the $1 million Haskell on Sunday, he absolutely dominated it. While an injury to Preakness champ Oxbow may have played a role in the huge gap between the son of More Than Ready and the rest of the field, Verrazano nevertheless crossed the wire 9 ¾ lengths ahead of Power Broker in the most lopsided of the 46 editions of the Haskell. Power Broker, at least, did not have his feelings hurt by playing a bit role in a virtuoso performance. "[Power Broker] ran a good race," his trainer Bob Baffert said. "I think he thinks he won. I don't know if he ever saw Verrazano go by. We were a little overmatched today. The 6-5 favorite's victory was even powerful enough to have his normally tight-lipped trainer, Todd Pletcher, utter some rather lofty praise. "[Verrazano] made a huge statement today. That was one of if not the most impressive performance by a 3-year-old this year, and I can't think of too many 3-year-olds who have ever run like that," said Pletcher, who should know a thing or two about good horses, having won the Eclipse Award as outstanding trainer on five occasions.
As darkness fell on Monmouth Park on Sunday evening, the road to a championship seemed destined to run through Pletcher's massive barn.