Breen: Breeders’ Cup Sprint Contender Firenze Fire ‘As Honest As They Come’

Mr. Amore Stable’s Firenze Fire galloped 1 1/8 miles Thursday morning at Keeneland in preparation for his fourth career Breeders’ Cup start in Saturday’s Sprint.

The 5-year-old son of Poseidon’s Warrior will make his first Breeders’ Cup start for trainer Kelly Breen, who accepted him and approximately 20 Mr. Amore Stable runners into his stable last winter from the barn of indicted trainer Jason Servis.

“It took a while for me to see the horse because of the pandemic. I was in Florida. My assistant, John Attfield, sent me pictures and videos to show me how well he looked. I’ve seen him race before, but it was a while before I laid eyes on him,” said Breen, who recently saddled Firenze Fire’s 3-year-old sister, Firenze Freedom for an allowance win at Belmont Park. “He’s a nice looking horse. He’s got a lot of muscle. He’s straightforward. He trains well. He does everything we ask of him.”

Firenze Fire has won two of five starts for Breen with two subpar showings coming over off tracks. He made his first start for Breen with a fourth-place finish in the June 6 Carter Handicap on a sloppy Belmont strip and won his first race for his new trainer three weeks later in the True North over a fast Belmont track. Firenze Fire was beaten two lengths while finishing fourth in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga before running 11th over a sloppy track at Saratoga in the Forego.

“The only bumps in the road I’ve had with him were on off tracks. He doesn’t like the mud,” Breen said. “You throw those couple races out and he’s as honest as they come.”

Firenze Fire rebounded from his Forego disappointment with a 2 ¾-length victory in the Vosburgh at Belmont, which was a “Win and You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race.

“We were extremely excited when he won a ‘Win and You’re In’ because there’s no contemplating, because you’re going once you’ve got a ‘Win and You’re In’ under your belt,” Breen said. “He showed that he belonged, and the ‘Win and You’re In’ stamps your ticket to the Breeders’ Cup.”

Breen wouldn’t have had to contemplate long to determine that Firenze Fire deserves a shot at a Sprint victory Saturday.

“I look at the Thoro-Graphs and the Ragozin sheets. He runs fast. His bounce numbers seem to be on an off track, and his numbers are fast enough to put him in there with this bunch,” he said.

Firenze Fire, who captured the Champagne at two, finished off the board in the 2017 Breeder’s Cup Juvenile at Del Mar. He finished fourth in the Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs in 2018 and fifth in the Sprint last year at Santa Anita.

Breen will also be seeking his first Breeders’ Cup success after notching third-place finishes with 2011 Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice (2011 Classic) and multiple graded-stakes winner Pants on Fire (2014 Dirt Mile).

“Pants On Fire reminds me of this horse. Pants on Fire didn’t win a stakes as a 2-year-old and this horse did, but he won a stakes as a 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7-year-old,” Breen said. “Knowing a little about what it takes to keep a horse going at an older age reminds me a lot about Firenze Fire.”

Jose Lezcano, who was aboard for his Vosburgh score, has the return call aboard Firenze Fire in the Sprint.

The post Breen: Breeders’ Cup Sprint Contender Firenze Fire ‘As Honest As They Come’ appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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