July 14, 2024

Belmont-loving Firenze Fire defends title in True North

Firenze Fire
Firenze Fire and jockey Jose Ortiz win the True North Stakes (Jessie Holmes/EquiSport)

Firenze Fire‘s love of Belmont Park proved too much for his competitors to overcome as the six-year-old turned in a successful title defense of the $300,000 True North S. (G2) at Belmont Park on Friday. It was the seventh win in 10 career starts at Belmont for the son of Poseidon’s Warrior.

Hustled from post 1 by Jose Ortiz, substituting in the saddle for his injured brother, Irad, Firenze Fire hooked up with second choice Flagstaff soon after the start and the pair dueled for the opening half-mile. With Firenze Fire maintaining a head lead, the fractions were :22.71 and :45.39 over a track labeled good.

Entering the stretch, the two continued to battle, but Firenze Fire began to edge clear with a furlong to go and ultimately pulled away to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Flagstaff, with American Power an even third throughout.

“(Irad) told me he thought he was a better horse on the outside. But he got the rail and he jumped good and I didn’t want to take anything away from him. I rode him like he was the best horse and he was the best horse,” Ortiz said.

A homebred racing Mr Amore Stable and trained by Kelly Breen, Firenze Fire paid $4.10 after completing 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.52. The order of finish was rounded out by Wicked Trick, Phat Man, Looking at Bikinis, and Big Engine.

This was the 13th career stakes win for Firenze Fire, whose other Belmont highlights include the 2017 Champagne (G1), 2018 Dwyer (G3), the 2019 and 2021 editions of the Runhappy (G3), and the 2020 Vosburgh (G2). Other graded scores include the Gallant Bob (G3), General George (G3), and Sanford (G3). His record now stands at 33-14-4-3, $2,484,350.

Bred in Florida, Firenze Fire was produced by My Every Wish, a daughter of Langfuhr. His third dam, With Every Wish, produced Broodmare of the Year Oatsee. The latter reared Preakness (G1) winner Shackleford and graded winners Lady Joanne, Afleeting Lady, and Baghdaria.

Bed o’ Roses S. (G3)

A strong storm blew into Belmont between the True North and the $294,000 Bed o’ Roses S. (G3), creating a long delay and a sloppy track. But the class relief Estilo Talentoso was experiencing regardless aided the four-year-old filly, who rallied in the middle of the track to win her first graded stakes by a neck over Lake Avenue.

A dead-heat second in the Madison (G1) at Keeneland and third to Gamine in the Derby City Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs in her previous two starts, Estilo Talentoso proved best under Javier Castellano in a time of 1:22.96 for seven furlongs. She paid $7.40. Lake Avenue had 1 3/4 lengths on Bayerness, who was followed by Pacific Gale, 19-10 favorite Victim of Love, and Alandra.

Trained by Juan Arriagada, Estilo Talentoso races for the partnership of Medallion Racing, Barry Fowler, Parkland Thoroughbreds, Little Red Feather Racing, and BlackRidge Stables. She captured the Escena S. at Gulfstream last season and also placed in the Azalea S. over the same track. Prior to her the aforementioned placings in Kentucky, Estilo Talentoso placed in the Wayward Lass S. at Tampa Bay Downs and the Barbara Fritchie (G3) at Laurel. Her record now stands at 14-4-8-3, $423,538.

Bred in Kentucky by Mile High Bloodstock, Estilo Talentoso sold for $15,000 as an OBS juvenile. By Maclean’s Music, she was produced by Bazinga Baby, a daughter of Afleet Alex.

Tremont S.

Earlier in the card, Overbore earned his first career victory in three tries by taking the $139,500 Tremont S. by three parts of a length over Kavod. Trust Our Journey and Baytown Frosty finished third and fourth, respectively.

Third to Baytown Frosty in his debut at Keeneland and beaten a nose in his second start at Churchill Downs on the turf, Overbore prevailed here under Joel Rosario in a time of 1:05.44 for 5 1/2 furlongs on a muddy track. He paid $3.30.

Owned by Peter Leidel and trained by Wesley Ward, Overbore is by Speightstown and out of multiple stakes winner Galina Point, by Saffir. He was bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm.

Sold for $275,000 at Keeneland September, Overbore has now earned $108,500.