A homebred for Ron Lombardi’s Mr. Amore Stables who is trained by Jason Servis, Firenze Fire began his career with a maiden victory at Monmouth Park. He then headed for the 6-furlong Sanford Stakes (G3) at Saratoga, in which he beat subsequent Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner Free Drop Billy. A few weeks later he finished fourth in the seven-furlong Hopeful Stakes (G1) at Saratoga, with Free Drop Billy ahead of him in second place.
That race may have raised some questions about his stamina, but he came back sharply in the one mile Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park. Taken back by Irad Ortiz Jr., he looped the field on the turn and strode away to beat Good Magic by a neck, with the rest of the field three lengths away.
A look at Firenze Fire’s pedigree would naturally raise some doubts about his prospects of staying 1 ¼ miles in the Kentucky Derby. Poseidon’s Warrior (Speightstown) was very much a six-furlong sprinter, winning the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap G1) and finishing third in the Vosburgh (G1). In addition, his dam’s sire Langfuhr (Danzig) was Champion Canadian Sprinter.
But though Speightstown was a sprinter himself, he’s sired horses like Haynesfield, who won the 1 ¼-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup. In addition, Langfuhr’s progeny include the Jockey Club Gold Cup runner-up Lawyer Ron and several horses that stayed 1 ½ miles or further on turf, including the 2-mile Perth Cup (G2) winner Black Tom.
Firenze Fire’s dam My Every Wish ran twice for two second-place finishes. Her dam With Every Wish was stakes-placed at up to 1 1/16 miles on turf; she is the second dam of Lady Joanne, winner of the 1 1/4-mile Alabama Stakes (G1) and fourth in the 1 1/8-mile Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).
There’s enough in the pedigree, therefore, to suggest 1 ¼ miles is not out of Firenze Fire’s reach, and the way he got to the line in the Champagne Stakes suggests he can get further than 1 1/16 miles. He should be watched carefully as the first Kentucky Derby Future Wager approaches.
(Photo by Anette Jasko/Coglianese Photos)