ELMONT, NY – Mr. Amore Stable homebred Firenze Fire flashed a sharp turn of foot and found himself back on top at the conclusion of Saturday’s $150,000 True North Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park.
Sent from the far outside post as the even-money favorite under Irad Ortiz, Jr., Firenze Fire remained wide and in the clear as Yorkton shot to the lead and posted opening fractions of :22.84 and :45.85.
Inching his way to the front through the far turn, Firenze Fire straightened for home with a slim lead. Once given his cue, the bettors’ choice responded immediately, kicking away to win by 1 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:15.53 for the 6 1/2-furlong fast main track sprint.
“He did everything right,” said Ortiz, Jr. “We broke and got into a good position and I was just waiting. Turning for home, I asked him and he responded really well. We were close to the pace, but I just held him together. I didn’t want to be fighting, so I just tried to let him relax and he really responded when I asked.”
Stan the Man tracked Yorkton closest of all early but proved no match for the winner, taking second by 3 1/4 lengths. Yorkton faded in the stretch but held off Wicked Trick by a head for third.
Diamond King and Midnightcharly completed the order of finish. Promises Fulfilled and Wait for It were scratched.
Firenze Fire’s win was his first since being rescued from his former trainer and came in his second start for current conditioner Kelly Breen after running fourth in a sloppy edition of the Carter Handicap (G1). The Florida-bred 5-year-old Poseidon’s Warrior offspring improved his overall record to 26-11-3-2 with $1,939,250 earned.
“For sure, he needed that last race,” Breen said. “I think the track had something to do with it last time out. He ran fast. He’s run fast races before. He’s a nice horse. When things click like that, it doesn’t get much better than that.”
Firenze Fire returned $4.20 to win, $3.30 to place, and $2.40 to show. Stan the Man brought back $5.70 to place and $3.40 to show, while Yorkton paid $3.10 to show.