The 2018 Jerome Stakes ran January 13th due to the harsh weather the first week of January. Two weeks from the orignal date, Aqueduct was finally able to run the Kentucky Derby prep race.
Seven Trumpets went off as a 3⁄1 odds second choice, and showed well early by seizing the lead from longshots Regalian and Glennwood. The pack was tight with Firenze Fire bringing up the rear. The group notched a sluggish :25.01 pace over the first quarter mile. Factor This made his move early, climbing to third at the half-mile point as the field was clocked at :50.81. Firenze Fire began to make a big push as they crested the three-quarter mile at 1:16.72.
As the tightly woven group burst around the final corner, Firenze Fire was well behind and had a lot of work to do to catch Seven Trumpets, who roared to a sizeable lead. However Firenze Fire would not be unfazed, devouring the gap between them as he caught Seven Trumpets just before the wire to secure a victory in the 2018 Jerome Stake with a winning time of 1:42.88 over the mile.
The race seemed wide open at first, but eventually the cream rose to the top with the three favorites finishing in order. Settling at 2⁄5 odds, Firenze Fire was worth $2.90 with the win while Seven Trumpets brought back $2.80 with a valiant performance. Coltandmississippi also shot from the back at 5⁄1 to return $2.70 in third place.
Owner Ron Lombardi knew how arduous the first two weeks of the year had been considering the unfavorable weather in New York and said, "That wasn’t easy but he did what he needed to do. It was a big win for us. If he can make through the past two weeks, we’re good going forward."
Firenze Fire earned 10 points on the Derby trail thanks to the win in the Jerome Stakes but still has plenty to prove. His next stop will likely be the Gotham Stakes on March 10th. Lombardi and his connections know that he has to be more consistent to earn the respect of hosre players, but a win is a win and this was a much needed momentum builder after Firenze Fire suffered a 7th place finish in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Few will be impressed by the final time, but when he shows up, Firenze Fire is as good as any of the other contenders on the Derby trail. He’s earned four victories over six starts, but has finished well out of the money twice. Overall he has earned $539,100 for his efforts and will continue to be a top consideration as we continue our march to the 2018 Kentucky Derby.
|7||Firenze Fire 2-5||$2.90||$2.20||$2.10|
|2||Seven Trumpets 3-1||$2.80||$2.20|