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.
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