Verrazano the Derby favorite after prep win

OLDSMAR, Fla. (AP) - Betting favorite Verrazano cruised to a victory in the Grade II $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby on Saturday.

The undefeated 3-year-old was a heavy favorite going into the race despite never running the 1 1/16-mile distance before.

Verrazano passed Falling Sky near the half-mile mark and extended the lead to five lengths and easily coasted to the victory despite a late charge from Java's War. The favorite paid $2.80 for the victory. Falling Sky held on for third.

Jockey John Velazquez won four races at the Tampa Bay Downs track Saturday.

In the Grade III $150,000 Hillsborough Stakes, betting favorite Old Tune held off Forces of Darkness in a photo finish with Mystical Star finishing third.

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