Firenze Fire headlines New York's 'Road to the Kentucky Derby' field in Saturday's Jerome
by NYRA Press Office
Mr. Amore Stable's Firenze Fire waited an additional two weeks but will have a chance to commence his 3-year-old campaign as part of a field of eight in the 148th running of the $150,000 Jerome on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Contested at one mile, the Jerome marks the year's first official prep race on the NYRA calendar that is part of New York's "Road to the Kentucky Derby," where 10 points will be awarded to the winner, four given to the runner-up, two to the third-place finisher and one point given to fourth place for qualifying for the "Run for the Roses" on May 5 at Churchill Downs. It was originally scheduled for New Year's Day before inclement weather canceled the card.
Firenze Fire, a two-time graded stakes winner, won his first two career starts, including a one-length victory over Free Drop Billy in the Grade 3 Sanford on July 22 at Saratoga Race Course.
After running fourth in the Grade 1 Hopeful at the Spa, the Poseidon Warrior colt earned a personal-best 90 Beyer Speed Figure in rallying from 10th to capture the Grade 1 Champagne by a half-length over Good Magic on October 7 at Belmont Park.
Good Magic went on to the win the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile on November 4 at Del Mar, with Firenze Fire settling for seventh. After a nearly two-month break, the Jason Servis trainee will make his Aqueduct debut.
Firenze Fire has been training at Belmont Park, where he breezed four furlongs in 50.99 seconds on the training track January 8. Temperatures are expected to climb into the high 40s on Saturday according to the National Weather Service.
"We still entered but the training hasn't been ideal," Servis said. "He's been doing OK. The weather on Saturday shouldn't really have an impact on him."
Jockey Manny Franco will have the call for the first time aboard Firenze Fire, leaving from post 7.
West Point Thoroughbreds' Seven Trumpets will make the jump to stakes company after back-to-back wins at Churchill Downs. Trained by Dale Romans, Seven Trumpets followed a fifth-place finish in his debut on July 15 at Ellis Park with two straight victories at 6 ½ furlongs.
A son of Morning Line, Seven Trumpets will now run a one-turn mile for the first time with Paco Lopez in the irons from post 2.
Coltandmississippi will be looking to place for the first time in three stakes starts for trainer Todd Pletcher. After winning his debut by a neck on August 12 at Saratoga, the Pioneerof the Nile colt ran 10th in the Sapling on September 2 at Monmouth. Dropping down in class, Coltandmississippi won by six lengths on October 27 at Gulfstream Park West before running fifth in the Smooth Air on December 9 at Gulfstream Park.
Trevor McCarthy will ride from the rail.
Smooth B will be looking to place for the first time in four stakes starts. Joseph Rocco, Jr. will ride in breaking from post 5.
Four first-time stakes starters round out the field, including Old Time Revival, who broke his maiden at third asking on December 1 at Laurel, earning a 75 Beyer in the seven-furlong sprint. Trained by Ken Decker, Old Time Revival will make his first New York start from post 6 with Junior Alvarado aboard.
Factor This will make his first stakes appearance in his eighth start off a winning maiden special weight effort at the Jerome distance December 17 at the Big A. Trained by Eddie Barker, Factor This started his career on dirt before running five straight races on turf. Baker switched Factor This back to dirt last out, resulting in his first career win, and will now take a step up in class, drawing post 4 in tandem with Dylan Davis.
Regalian, for trainer Chris Englehart, will break from post 3 with Luis Reyes, and Glennwood, trained by Erin Wilkinson, will have the services of jockey Kendrick Carmouche from the outside.
Saturday's card also features the $100,000 Say Florida Sandy's inaugural running for New York-breds 4-years-old and up at seven furlongs. Carded as Race 5, a competitive field of eight will each look to pick up their first stakes win of the year.
Zilla Racing Stables' Celtic Chaos is entered for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. A 4-year-old son of Dublin, the multiple stakes winner will look to rebound off a fourth-place finish last out in an allowance optional-claiming race on December 14 at Aqueduct.
With Eric Cancel aboard, the pair will leave from post 3.
McLaughlin will also enter Haul Anchor for owners Chester and Mary Broman. Sired by multiple graded stakes winner Bernardini, the 4-year-old is a perfect 2-for-2 at the Big A, winning the Damon Runyon in 2016 and last year's Gander.
With Martin Garcia aboard, Haul Anchor will depart post 7.
Salty veteran Ostrolenka, will also look to improve off a sixth-place finish in an allowance race December 9 at Parx. One race prior, the 5-year-old son of Musket Man won the Hudson Handicap at Belmont last October.
With McCarthy in the irons, the pair will leave from the rail.
Rounding out the field is Pat On the Back for trainer Kenny McPeek and owner Harold Lerner from post 2; Eye Luv Lulu for owner Michael Dubb and trainer Jason Servis from post 6, Candid Desire for trainer Gary Sciacca and Amanda Laderer from the outside; My Boy Tate, for Little Red Feather Racing and trainer Michelle Nevin, from post 4; and Gold for the King, trained by Charlie Baker, out of post 5.