Regret. Upset. Tom Fool. Hail to Reason. Secretariat. Affirmed. Since the first edition of the Sanford Stakes at Saratoga a little more than 100 years ago, the race has been won by many of the most storied names in the history of the thoroughbred sport. Yesterday, Firenze Fire added his name to that august list, the son of Poseidon’s Warrior coming from off the pace under Irad Ortiz Jr. to win the $150,000, Gr. III kickoff to the Spa’s lucrative juvenile program in a driving finish.
Despite his impressive maiden-breaking performance at Monmouth Park on June 18, Firenze Fire was allowed to go off at 12-1 and he rewarded his followers with a $27 mutuel. After breaking fifth in the six-furlong test, Firenze Fire edged up to fourth after a quarter of a mile in :22.27, and went after pace-setting second choice Baffin on the turn. He took over the lead at the eighth pole, then held off 3-1 favorite Free Drop Billy approaching the wire, getting home by one length with six furlongs in 1:11.50.
The victory was worth $90,000 to Mr. Amore Stables and raised Firenze Fire’s earnings to $111,600. Trainer Jason Servis disclosed after the race that the colt will now be pointed to the seven-furlong, Gr. I Hopeful at the Spa on Sept. 4.
Pleasant Acres’ Treasure Beach, Brethren and Poseidon’s Warrior are currently running 1-2-3 on the Florida freshman sire list, and nationally, are eighth, 13th and 15th.