OZONE PARK, NY – It took a lot of effort on a muddy track, but Mr. Amore Stable’s homebred Firenze Fire was able to drive down the stretch and take Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct.
Off as the prohibitive 2/5 favorite from under Manny Franco, Firenze Fire sat off the pace as Seven Trumpets set tepid fractions of :25.01 and :50.81 through the first 1/2-mile. Franco gave Firenze Fire the signal heading into the far turn and the pair made a three-wide move to take second by the top of the stretch. Seven Trumpets came off the rail a bit and then lugged back inside, allowing Firenze Fire to gain ground and corral him with 1/16 to go. Carrying his momentum forward, the Jason Servis-trained colt powered through to hit the line first by a 1/2-length in a final time of 1:42.88 for the mile-long main track event.
“I was on the best horse today,” Franco said. “The instructions were to try to break good and not give him too much to do. That’s what I tried to do, but the race was a little tougher than we expected, but we got it done.”
Seven Trumpets held on to stay well clear of the rest of the field in second. Coltandmississippi was up late for third by a 1/2-length over Factor This, with Glennwood completing the order of finish. Old Time Revival and Smooth B were scratched.
The Jerome is part of the Road to the 2018 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Firenze Fire earned 10 points for the win, with Seven Trumpets receiving 4 for second, Coltandmississippi 2 for third, and Regalian 1 for fourth.
Already a multiple graded stakes winner as a juvenile, Firenze Fire’s sophomore season debut improved his record to 6-4-0-0. The $90,000 winner’s share of the purse increased the career earnings to $539,100 for the son of Poseidon’s Warrior.
“Heading into the race, I thought he might be up against it,” Servis said. “It looked like there was a speed bias for most of the day on the track. He didn’t have the easiest of trips; he didn’t break on top and had to deal with some traffic, but I’m not going to knock the ride. Manny got the job done. It’s nice when things work out. They don’t usually, but when they do, it’s nice.”
Firenze Fire returned $2.90 to win, $2.20 to place, and $2.10 to show. Seven Trumpets brought back $2.80 to place and $2.20 to show, while Coltandmississippi paid $2.70 to show.