Denied in the race last year by a brutal nose to Imperial Hint, Firenze Fire made amends in Saturday’s $145,500 Vosburgh Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park, winning the 6-furlong dash by 2 3/4 lengths under Jose Lezcano.
Tracking in second behind the pace-setting Share the Ride, the Belmont-loving Firenze Fire seized control from that rival in upper stretch and won with command in a time of 1:09.74. Funny Guy, the 19-10 favorite, rallied for second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of Share the Ride. True Timber edged Engage late for fourth.
A homebred racing for Mr Amore Stable and trained by Kelly Breen, Firenze Fire paid $7.20 as the second choice. With the victory, Firenze Fire earned an automatic bid to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), a race he finished fifth in last year. The 5-year-old was also unplaced in two prior Breeders’ Cup attempts at ages two and three.
The son of Poseidon’s Warrior loves Belmont, though, and has now won five times in eight tries over the track. Previous wins at “Big Sandy” include the True North (G2) earlier this year, the 2017 Champagne (G1) and 2018 Dwyer (G3).
“He loves Belmont. We’ll have to get him as used to Keeneland as he is to Belmont,” Breen said. “I’ll bring a couple of buckets from here and put it down the Keeneland stretch and bring our track to Keeneland. He’s doing great. He looked great today and we’re on to the Breeders’ Cup.”
This was the 10th stakes win overall for Firenze Fire, who also scored Grade 3 triumphs in the General George at Laurel earlier this year, the 2017 Sanford and the 2018 Gallant Bob. Firenze Fire has now earned $2,038,250 from a record of 29-12-3-2.
Bred in Florida, Firenze Fire was produced by My Every Wish, by Langfuhr.
Benefiting in part from a hot pace set by her favored stablemate, Blowout, Viadera snatched victory from that rival with an inside rush in the final sixteenth to give trainer Chad Brown a one-two finish in the $100,000 Noble Damsel Stakes (G3).
Winner of the De La Rose S. at Saratoga by a neck in her latest outing, Viadera won by the same margin here under Joel Rosario in a swift clocking of 1:32.06 for one mile on the Widener turf. Blowout, the 2-1 favorite who set fractions of :22.17, :44.85, and 1:08.38, held on well despite that pace and finished three-quarters of a length ahead of Sweet Bye and Bye.
A homebred racing for Juddmonte Farms, Viadera paid $13. The British-bred 4-year-old filly is out of Sacred Shield, by Beat Hollow, and has now earned $211,411 from a line of 12-5-1-1.