Firenze Fire blazes to Fabulous Strike score
Firenze Fire training for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs. Photo Casey Phillips/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM
Bettors made him the overwhelming, 1-5 favorite in Wednesday’s $200,000 Fabulous Strike Stakes at Penn National, and Firenze Fire did not disappoint.
With jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the irons, Firenze Fire romped to a 4 1/4-length victory in the six-furlong test, a win that pushed his career earnings past the $1.6 million mark. Firenze Fire, who’d made his prior start in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, has now won eight of 22 career starts.
Ortiz was content with third place through the opening quarter-mile, which went by in 21.69 seconds and saw longshot Dupree holding a narrow advantage over Midnightcharly, who was half of an Ed Coletti-trained entry that also include defending champ Midtowncharlybrown.
Perched three wide off the speed duel, Firenze Fire bid near the five-sixteenths pole, led narrowly after a half-mile in 45 sconds flat, and drew away to the easy win while under a hand ride. Running time for the six furlongs was 1:09.33. Midnghtcharly held second, while 87-1 outsider Jumpmaster, a local hopeful trained by Rodrigo Madrigal, rallied into third.
Firenze Fire returned just $2.40 to win and topped an exacta that paid $5.20 for two dollars.
A Florida-bred son of Poseidon’s Warrior, Firenze Fire is trained by Jason Servis for Mr. Amore Stable. He also is entered in Sunday’s Grade 3 Fall Highweight at Aqueduct.
Two undercard stakes also served up a pair of tasty outcomes.
In the Blue Mountain Juvenile Filies, a $100,000 test for sophomore Pennsylvania-bred fillies, the favored Chad Brown trainee Autonomous (3-5 at post time) led early but faded late to be third.
That opened the door to the John Servis trainee Precious, who powered to a three-length victory in 1:11.44 under rider Trevor McCarthy.
Precious, a homebred daughter of Fed Biz for Newell Thoroughbreds, is now two-for-two in her brief career. She had begun her campaign in October with a 14-length win in maiden special weight company at Parx Racing, lagged early along the inside in last before cruising up to win.
Chilly Sky, 25-1 at post time, grabbed second while Autonomous was third. Precious returned $8.00 to win as the 3-1 third choice in the field that scratched down to five, and the exacta was good for $101.20 on a two-dollar wager.
One race prior to the Blue Mountain, veteran Monongahela romped to a three-length victory in the $100,000 Swatara Stakes for older runners. It was his second win of the year and seventh of his career, and it pushed his lifetime earnings to more than $478,000.
Monongahela had won the Grade 3 Iselin at Monmouth Park back in June — the first graded win of the five-year-old gelding’s career — but had seen his form somewhat darkened by back-to-back sixth-place finishes in Grade 1 and Grade 2 company in his most recent starts.
But Wednesday under Jorge Vargas, Jr., he was able to stalk the early pace of longshot Isotherm, take over after three-quarters of a mile, and draw off to the win in 1:43.01 for 1 1/16 miles.
Someday Jones was along for second, and favored Name Changer — making his first start in 11 months — held third.
Monongahela returned $7.80 to win and capped an exacta that was good for $23.40 on a two-dollar wager. He’s trained by Jason Servis for Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables LLC, and Gary Aisquith.
LATEST RACING NEWS
New rules proposals in New Jersey and California that would limit whip use have spurred the Jockeys’ Guild to advance their own more “moderate” concept.
Multiple stakes winner Cordmaker will get the winter off before a 2020 campaign that may include a second try in the G3 Pimlico Special.
Your five-minute read to catch up on all the Mid-Atlantic racing action you may have missed over the weekend…
Five stakes — four at Laurel Park, one at Parx Racing, all for state-breds — lead us to ask five questions about the weekend’s racing.
Hockey Puck rallied from mid-flight to register a 13-1 upset in the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes for two-year-old PA-breds at Parx Racing Saturday.
Veteran campaigners Lewisfield (Bender Memorial) and Anna’s Bandit (Politely) proved best in a pair of Maryland-bred stakes at Laurel Park Saturday.