Odds-on favorite Firenze Fire needed almost the length of the stretch to wear down front-running Seven Trumpets in Saturday's $150,000 Jerome at Aqueduct, the second point-scoring opportunity of 2018 in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series.

Ridden by Manny Franco, the 2-5 choice rated at or near the back of a compact field as Seven Trumpets set a pace of :25.01, :50.81, and 1:16.72 over a muddy track yielding extremely slow times all afternoon. Making a five-wide bid at the quarter pole, Firenze Fire took aim at Seven Trumpets in upper stretch and gradually wore down his determined foe by a half-length.

Firenze Fire finished the mile in 1:42.88 and paid $2.90. Seven Trumpets finished 5 1/4 lengths clear of Coltandmississippi for second, with Regalian a half-length behind that rival in fourth.

"Heading into the race, I thought he might be up against it," trainer Jason Servis said. "It looked like there was a speed bias for most of the day on the track. He didn't have the easiest of trips; he didn't break on top and had to deal with some traffic, but I'm not going to knock the ride. Manny got the job done. It's nice when things work it. They don't usually, but when they do, it's nice."

A homebred racing for Mr Amore Stable, Firenze Fire is now a three-time stakes winner having taken the Sanford (G3) and Champagne (G1) at two. Firenze Fire earned 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points for this win, bringing his current total to 20. He also earned 10 for winning the Champagne over eventual Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Good Magic and future Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) scorer Enticed. 

Seven Trumpets, Coltandmississippi, and Regalian earned Derby qualifying points of 4-2-1, respectively, in the Jerome.

Bred in Florida, Firenze Fire is by Poseidon's Warrior and out of the Langfuhr mare My Every Wish. Also hailing from this female family is Broodmare of the Year Oatsee, notably the dam of 2011 Preakness (G1) winner Shackleford.

(Adam Coglianese Photography)