UPDATE: The Jerome will not be run Monday after Aqueduct canceled live racing on account of the extreme cold and subzero wind chills. Stay tuned for further developments. 

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The chase for Kentucky Derby (G1) points resumes on New Year’s Day with the $150,000 Jerome at Aqueduct, where Champagne (G1) winner Firenze Fire ranks as the class of the field.

Currently fifth on the points leaderboard, Firenze Fire was last seen finishing a distant seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Del Mar. The East Coast-based colt didn’t do himself justice on the ship out west, which also marked his first try around two turns.

Two starts back, Firenze Fire had beaten eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Good Magic in the Champagne at Belmont, contested around a one-turn mile similar to the Jerome. And earlier in the summer at Saratoga, he upset Free Drop Billy in the Sanford (G3).

Firenze Fire accordingly carries the top weight of 122 pounds in the Jerome, spotting his rivals from four to six pounds. The Jason Servis trainee is well drawn in post 5, in the middle of the eight-horse field, with regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr.

Diamond King, a handy winner of his first two starts at Parx, comes off an unlucky trip at Churchill Downs. He clipped heels early in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), unseating jockey Frankie Pennington and losing all chance in his stakes debut. Diamond King would be a rebound candidate here – if he runs. Trainer Butch Reid has cross-entered him, and stablemate Smooth B, to Saturday’s Heft S. at Laurel Park. Smooth B has a lesser profile, having finished off the board in the Futurity (G3), Sapling, and most recently the Pennsylvania Nursery.

Honor Up is likewise cross-entered, in his case to Saturday’s Damon Runyon for New York-breds at Aqueduct. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, he romped in a state-bred maiden at this track and one-mile trip last time out. Regular pilot Junior Alvarado has the return call if Honor Up opts to try open company in the Jerome, where he’s drawn the rail.

Seven Trumpets commands attention after winning his past two at Churchill Downs for Dale Romans. Victorious in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden and an allowance going the same distance, he’ll tackle a mile for the first time. Robby Albarado, aboard for both of those scores, will guide Seven Trumpets from post 7.

Regalian dominated a course-and-distance maiden in his first start since being claimed by trainer Chris Englehart, but faces a stiff class hike from the $50,000 maiden claiming level. Laurel shipper Old Time Revival, who broke his maiden in a romp at his home track, also meets a higher caliber of rival here. Millionaire Runner’s best efforts have come in maiden claimers at Parx, and he was outclassed when seventh in his Remsen (G2) stakes debut.

You can watch the Jerome live on TwinSpires.com Monday afternoon, with post time scheduled for 3:34 p.m. (EST). The top four finishers will receive Derby points on a 10-4-2-1 scale.


Photo of Firenze Fire beating Good Magic in the Champagne courtesy of NYRA/Coglianese Photography