Rough Water is being bred in 2017 to Verrazano (More Than Ready x Enchanted Rock, by Giant’s Causeway; $17,500 LFSN at Ashford)
Given that Rough Water has already produced a pair of foals by More Than Ready who each brought $300,000 or more at the sales before going on to successful racetrack campaigns, we are excited to be breeding her in 2017 to More Than Ready’s most accomplished Northern Hemisphere son, Verrazano.
A brilliant racehorse, Verrazano made his racetrack debut on the first day of his 3-year-old season, running off by more than seven lengths (good for a 94 Beyer Speed Figure) going 6-1/2 furlongs at Gulfstream and immediately catapulting himself into the Kentucky Derby discussion. He followed that performance up with a sixteen-length victory in a one mile Gulfstream allowance race, which trainer Todd Pletcher called “as impressive as you’ll see one run,” earning a 105 Beyer. He next took the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby by three lengths and then the Grade 1 Wood Memorial to head to Churchill Downs unbeaten in four starts and one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby.
Although Verrazano lost his unbeaten record in the Derby, he returned from a brief freshening to take the Grade 3 Pegasus by nine lengths, and then turned in one of the most impressive performances by a 3-year-old in some time when taking the Grade 1 Haskell by a record nine-and-three-quarters lengths, good for a stratospheric Beyer of 116. He bounced in the Grade 1 Travers next time out, when a mile-and-a-quarter could also have been beyond his scope. A solid 4th-place finish against older rivals in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and a 3rd in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile (finishing ahead of Grade 1 winners Groupie Doll, Goldencents and Capo Bastone) closed out his sophomore campaign – one that demonstrated just how durable he was, with ten starts in eleven months for a trainer who is not known for extensively campaigning his horses.
While most expected that Verrazano would retire following the Cigar Mile, instead he was shipped to trainer Aidan O’Brien at Ballydoyle in Ireland for a 4-year-old campaign. As is typical, O’Brien was full of praise for Verrazano before he reached the races, and while expectations were high, the colt only managed a 2nd in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes and a 3rd in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes (both at a mile) among his three European starts. Still, those were two placings against top level turf milers, and did nothing to dent Verrazano’s reputation while underlining his versatility. He subsequently retired to Ashford Stud and stood his first year at stud in 2015 (when we thought highly enough of him to breed Atlantic Rainbow to him).
Verrazano is a gorgeous physical specimen; Steve Haskin said of him: “When you look at him next to other horses, he looks like Hercules next to mere mortals.” He’s tall and lengthy with plenty of bone, very muscular and well-balanced; much more in the mold of his broodmare sire Giant’s Causeway than his sire More Than Ready (his dam, Enchanted Rock, is rumored to be at least 17-hands tall). Verrazano covered 185 mares in his first book, and had 22 first crop weanlings sell in 2016 for an average of $75,318, including individuals for $300,000, $185,000 and $150,000. He subsequently covered 190 mares in his second book, while Rough Water will be a member of his third.
The foal from this mating will be inbred 5×5 to Hail To Reason, 5×5 to Northern Dancer, 5x4x4 to Mr. Prospector, and 4×3 to Storm Cat. Multiple crosses of Northern Dancer and Mr. Prospector are omnipresent in pedigrees these days. Inbreeding to Storm Cat has become more prevalent (and successful) than it once was, while inbreeding to Hail To Reason (this foal will have two additional lines of Hail To Reason in its seventh generation, and another in its eighth) has been an extremely successful pattern for More Than Ready. TrueNicks rates the cross of More Than Ready and his sons over Storm Cat-line mares as a “B”, with Verrazano himself being the most accomplished runner bred on the cross.
In addition to a successful cross of sire-lines, and as we mentioned above, Rough Water herself has already produced a pair of winners when mated with More Than Ready – namely Gadget Girl and Risque Reality, both of whom sold for $300,000 or more prior to their racetrack careers. And Rough Water’s 2017 foal will be sired by More Than Ready’s brilliant Grade 1-winning juvenile Daredevil (himself inbred to Hail To Reason’s son Halo), giving her yet another chance for success with the sire-line before this foal by Verrazano. Furthermore, Rough Water’s dam, Panama Canal, has produced the stakes-placed winner Last Out of Panama by More Than Ready, while Panama Canal’s winning half-sister, Our Miss Legs, has produced a Japanese stakes winner by Hail To Reason’s grandson Sunday Silence, who is herself the dam of Grade 1 winner Success Brocken (who is inbred to Hail To Reason 4x4x5).
Physically this is a great matchup as well, with both Verrazano and Rough Water being big, strong horses with plenty of length and lots of bone – very much a case of like-to-like.