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Vosburgh Preview: Firenze Fire Aims For Repeat
Firenze Fire winning the 2020 Vosburgh (Credit: NYRA)

Vosburgh Preview: Firenze Fire Aims For Repeat

ELMONT, NY – After savaging and bumping repeatedly with the winner in the Forego Stakes (G1) last time out, Mr Amore Stable homebred Firenze Fire returns to defend his title in Saturday’s $250,000 Vosburgh Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park.

The Vosburgh is a 6-furlong dirt sprint open to horses ages 3 and up that serves as the fifth event on an 11-race card with a local post time of 2:45 PM. The race is also a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, awarding an automatic berth in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Del Mar this November.

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Here’s a look at the full field for the Vosburgh:

1. Jalen Journey 7/2 – He finished second but was placed first via disqualification in the 6-furlong De Francis Dash (G3) at Pimlico last time out for his third win in his past 4 starts. Jockey Jose Lezcano, aboard for the first of those victories, picks the mount back up and has won 5 of his past 15 mounts for the Steve Asmussen barn. Historically, Asmussen repeats at 21% with last-out winners.

2. Good Effort 15/1 – After compiling a 29-8-4-2 record (including 4-0-1-0 on dirt) in Great Britain, Dubai, and France, he makes his American racing debut against a short but stout field of local dirt sprinters. He adds blinkers for the first time after wiring a field of allowance rivals going 6 1/2 furlongs on Deauville’s synthetic course in August and talented European jockey Wayne Lordan rides.

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3. Baby Yoda 7/5 – Though he waited until this past May to make his racing debut he’s done little wrong since, winning 3 of 4 starts including a 4 1/2-length romp covering 6 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga last time out. This is a sizeable step up from what he’s defeated in the past, but aside from the defending champ, there isn’t anyone scary in here. If he manages to squirt free early, he could be gone.

4. Firenze Fire 8/5 – He avenged his nose defeat in the 2019 edition with a 2 3/4-length romp last year, then finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). He began his 2021 season by winning a pair of graded dirt sprint stakes over this course, then endured a rough trip to finish fifth in the Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) prior to the Forego. He’s 7 for 11 at Belmont and 7 for 14 at this distance.

“He’s won at 7 tracks, but he’s won the most at Belmont and loves that surface,” said owner/breeder Ron Lombardi. “He’s just such a solid horse and he showed his athleticism last time out in the Forego.”

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5. Following Sea 9/2 – He won 2 straight dirt sprints (including at 6 1/2 furlongs over this track) before trainer Todd Pletcher stretched him out to 1 1/8 miles in the Haskell Stakes (G1), where he crossed third (bumped up to second via disqualification). He finished third in the 7-furlong H. Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes (G1) at Saratoga last time behind arguably the country’s best dirt sprinter and miler.

“He’s talented and I thought he ran pretty well in the Allen Jerkens. He reacted to the dirt in his face for a while, but he finished up decently,” Pletcher said. “The Haskell may have been a little too far a little too soon, but he’s held good company and had a good win over the track here over the summer.”

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