When Vinery Stables transferred a handful of horses in training from Steve Asmussen into the barn of Larry Jones earlier this summer, graded stakes winner Kodiak Kowboy grabbed much of the attention as the highest profile colt changing hands.
But when Jones received his new shipment of horses, Kodiak Kowboy wasn’t necessarily the one he was most excited about. It was 2-year-old colt Friesan Fire.
“We pretty much knew right away that he was special,” Jones admitted. “It’s easy to pick up on ones like that. He’s a very talented colt, the kind that could be talked about in early May (for the Kentucky Derby). And it seems like he’ll enjoy more ground.
“He might be as good as we’ve had in our barn.”
The highly-touted Friesan Fire will try to earn the first graded stakes victory of his career at Aqueduct Nov. 2 when he takes on six juveniles in the $100,000 Nashua Stakes (gr. III), a mile contest on the main track. Among his rivals will be Puglisi Racing’s Forty Thieves and E. Paul Robsham’s Royal Vindication, each coming off stakes victories.
Friesan Fire, by A.P. Indy--Bollinger (by Dehere) has showed flashes of brilliance in both starts thus far. He broke his maiden going six furlongs at Delaware Park Aug. 25 , stalking the pace, taking over after a half-mile, and then drawing away in the stretch to win by three lengths under jockey Terry Thompson.
Three weeks later, Jones entered the bay colt in the $250,000 Futurity Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park. After breaking poorly, Friesan Fire found his best run in the stretch and wound up finishing third, beaten less than four lengths in the seven-furlong contest.
“He was green and content to follow horses for half the race,” Jones said of the Futurity effort. “He just wasn’t aggressive until the straightaway when Terry called on him.
“He’s been training more aggressively since then. I’m not sure where we’ll position him, but he should break better this time. We’ll let him dictate to us where he wants to be, but he definitely showed he has speed.”
Friesan Fire has been working steadily at Fair Hills Training Center in Maryland. His last breeze was Oct. 28, where he was clocked going five furlongs in 1:01.60. John Velazquez will get the call for the first time in the Nashua.
Forty Thieves, trained by Steve Klesaris, will try to make it a perfect 3-for-3 Nov. 2. The son of Read the Footnotes has been terrific in winning both starts so far, breaking his maiden by nearly eight lengths at Delaware Aug. 30, and a month later taking the restricted Monmouth Park NATC Futurity by 5 1/2 lengths going six furlongs. Bred in Florida by Hickstead Farm, Forty Thieves is out of the Meadowlake mare Caitlin’s Mystery. Cornelio Velazquez gets the mount.
Royal Vindication needed three tries to break his maiden for trainer Stanley Hough, but seems to have figured things out since finding the winner’s circle Sept. 13. The Vindication colt scored in his stakes debut Oct. 13 in the six-furlong Trapp Mountain at Belmont, stopping the clock impressively in 1:09.66 for six furlongs while coming from off the pace. Javier Castellao will be aboard.
Also looking for their first stakes wins are Hello Broadway and Break Water Edison, who finished fifth and eighth, respectively, in the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Oct. 4 . Break Water Edison, trained by John Kimmel, was runner-up in the Saratoga Special (gr. II) this summer.
$150,000 Nashua Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, 3:44 p.m.), 2-Year-Olds, 1 Mile (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Prince Charming (KY), 118, Jose Lezcano
2. Hello Broadway (KY), 118, Eibar Coa
3. Tire Kicker (KY), 118, Ramon A. Dominguez
4. Royal Vindication (KY), 118, Javier Castellano
5. Friesan Fire (KY), 118, John R. Velazquez
6. Break Water Edison (KY), 118, Alan Garcia
7. Forty Thieves (FL), 122, Cornelio H. Velasquez