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Verrazano cruises to Haskell victory

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Who is the best 3-year-old thoroughbred in the country?

Famed trainer Todd Pletcher believes it’s his horse, Verrazano, especially after Verrazano’s dominant and performance Sunday in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.

‘‘He made a big statement today,’’ Pletcher said after Verrazano romped to a 9¾-length victory Sunday in the $1 million race. ‘‘He’s as impressive as there is with the 3-year-olds right now.’’

The margin was the largest in Haskell history, easily topping Bluegrass Cat’ 7-length win in 2006.

Sent off at even money, Verrazano allowed Preakness winner Oxbow to set the early fractions in a slow pace. Oxbow, the second choice at 5-2, led through the half-mile mark with Verrazano a half-length back.

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