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ELMONT, NY – Mr. Amore Stable homebred Firenze Fire successfully defended his title from last year’s edition with another rousing victory in Friday’s $300,000 True North Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park.
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Firenze Fire broke from the rail as the even-money favorite and gunned to the lead under Jose Ortiz, who inherited the mount after his brother Irad was injured during a mid-race fall Thursday.
With Flagstaff applying direct pressure to his outside from the get-go, Firenze Fire ticked off fractions of :22.71 and :45.39 before rounding the far turn still in command.
Put to the test in the stretch, Firenze Fire kicked clear of Flagstaff near near the 1/16 pole before pulling away late to win the 6 1/2-furlong good dirt sprint by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:15.52.
“(Irad) said he’s a very nice horse and that he was going to break good,” Jose said. “He told me he thought he was a better horse on the outside, but he got the rail and he jumped good and I didn’t want to take anything away from him. I rode him like he was the best horse and he was the best horse.”
Flagstaff was 2 1/4 lengths ahead of American Power in a trifecta that stayed the same at every point of call.
Wicked Trick, Phat Man, Looking At Bikinis, and Big Engine completed the order of finish.
Firenze Fire’s win was his 13th at the stakes level and improved his overall record to 33-14-4-3. The 6-year-old Florida-bred son of Poseidon’s Warrior has now earned $2,484,350.
“He’s been training great,” said Kelly Breen, who took over training duties early last year. “I think he’s more even-keel now. I’m getting to know him even more than last year and maybe he’s getting to know me, also. It’s a pretty good combo right now.”
Firenze Fire returned $4.10 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.30 to show. Flagstaff brought back $3.70 to place and $3.10 to show. American Power paid $3.80 to show.
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