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ELMONT, NY – Mr Amore Stable homebred Firenze Fire avenged his nose defeat in last year’s race with a powerful victory in Saturday’s $150,000 Vosburgh Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park.
The Vosburgh is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Firenze Fire receiving an automatic berth in the Sprint at Keeneland this November.
Firenze Fire broke swiftly from post 5 under Jose Lezcano as the 5/2 second choice and challenged for the early lead, ultimately letting Share the Ride set the tempo while sitting just 1 length off.
Share the Ride posted opening fractions of :22.33 and :45.53 through the far turn, but Lezcano gave Firenze Fire the green light near the 3/16 pole and he soon joined the fight for first.
A four-wide wall at the top of the stretch gave the impression that it would be a wide-open run to the finish, but Firenze Fire took a narrow lead shortly after straightening out and held safely through to the wire.
The Kelly Breen trainee crossed 2 3/4 lengths the best while completing the 6-furlong fast dirt dash in 1:09.74.
“Today, it was a small field, so I wanted to break good and he was in the bridle the whole way,” Lezcano said. “When I asked him at the 1/4 pole, he took off.”
The 9/5 favorite Funny Guy rallied the length of the stretch but could only take second, 1 1/4 lengths past Share the Ride.
True Timber headed Engage for fourth to complete the order of finish.
Stan the Man was scratched.
Firenze Fire’s win was his third of the year and fifth from 8 starts over this course to bring his record up to 29-12-3-2 with $2,038,250 earned. The Florida-bred Poseidon’s Warrior horse heads back to the World Championships with plenty of past experience on that stage; he was seventh in the 2017 Juvenile (G1), fourth in the 2018 Dirt Mile (G1), and fifth in last year’s Sprint.
“He loves Belmont,” Breen said. “We’ll have to get him as used to Keeneland as he is to Belmont. I’ll bring a couple of buckets (of dirt) from here and put it down the Keeneland stretch and bring our track to Keeneland. He’s doing great. He looked great today and we’re on to the Breeders’ Cup.”
Firenze Fire returned $7.20 to win, $3.60 to place, and $2.70 to show. Funny Guy brought back $3.20 to place and $2.40 to show, while Share the Ride paid $2.80 to show.
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