Firenze Fire The ‘Rodney Dangerfield’ Of Road To The Triple Crown

Mr. Amore Stable’s homebred Grade 1 winner Firenze Fire turned in his final work on a windy Sunday morning at Belmont Park for Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham for Kentucky Derby hopefuls at a mile at Aqueduct.

The Jason Servis trainee took to the training track in company shortly after 9:30 a.m. with jockey Manny Franco aboard. Firenze Fire broke off at the fifth-eighths pole a few lengths behind his stablemate, 5-year-old allowance winner Whatstotalkabout.

The pair covered the first furlong in a leisurely 14 1/5 seconds and picked up the pace as they rounded the turn. Firenze Fire rated comfortably behind his workmate and, when tipped to the outside by Franco, responded with a strong kick inside the eighth pole to finish about 1 ½ lengths ahead at the wire and galloped out a solid quarter-mile.

Firenze Fire earned an official half-mile time of 50.69 seconds.

“It’s the same as he always works. He’s kind of a plugging-along horse,” said Servis by phone. “He’s taken dirt in his races and I know he’s pretty fit at this point, but I still want him to stay behind horses and gallop out a little bit.”

The Gotham will be the third local Derby prep for Firenze Fire, who recorded a half-length victory with Franco aboard in the one-mile Jerome on January 13. Last time out, he finished a hard-fought second in the Grade 3 Withers at 1 1/8 miles on February 3, only his second try around two turns.

As a 2-year-old, the Poseidon’s Warrior colt won the Grade 3 Sanford and finished fourth in the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga before posting a half-length win over eventual 2-year-old champion Good Magic in the Grade 1 Champagne on October 7 at Belmont. Firenze Fire made his two-turn debut while finishing a distant seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar, won by Good Magic by 4 ½ lengths.

As part of the Kentucky Derby Championship series, the Gotham awards 85 qualifying points, on a 50-20-10-5 scale, to the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs.

Firenze Fire currently sits fourth on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 24 points as of Sunday morning.

“He doesn’t get much respect sometimes,” said Servis. “He’s kind of a Rodney Dangerfield, I don’t get it. He ran a mile and an eighth [in the Withers] and it didn’t look like he had trouble with it. He kind of made a middle move and just couldn’t get to that horse, but it wasn’t like he stopped or anything. I think if he’s ridden right, he’ll get a mile and a quarter. But, he’s got to get the points first.”

Franco will ride Firenze Fire in the Gotham, while Trevor McCarthy, who was aboard for Firenze Fire’s runner-up finish in the Withers, breezed Servis’ other probable Gotham starter, undefeated New Jersey-bred Dial Operator, on Sunday morning.

A lightly raced chestnut colt by Dialed In, Dial Operator got loose briefly near the gap of the training track but was apprehended without incident and went on to work a half-mile in 50.20.

Dial Operator broke his maiden by 1 ¼ lengths at first asking against state-breds last July at Monmouth Park and returned from an eight-month layoff to register a 4 ½-score in a 5 ½-furlong optional claimer on February 4 at Laurel Park.

The post Firenze Fire The ‘Rodney Dangerfield’ Of Road To The Triple Crown appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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