Firenze Fire holds off Free Drop Billy in the Sanford Stakes

Firenze Fire holds off Free Drop Billy in the Sanford Stakes

Coglianese Photos/Chelsea Durand

Firenze Fire Upsets Sanford Stakes

The Poseidon's Warrior colt scored for Servis at odds of 12-1.

Mr Amore Stables' homebred Firenze Fire rolled past the frontrunner and fended off a late challenge in the stretch to upset the $150,000 Sanford Stakes (G3) at Saratoga Race Course July 22. 

Video: Sanford S. (G3)

"The horse has always been very classy, but when he won the first time, I was a little surprised, I really was," said trainer Jason Servis of the Poseidon's Warrior  colt, who won his debut at Monmouth Park. "He won going away and there really wasn't much around. We thought this is where we've got to take a shot and it all worked out, which is very exciting.

"I think he'll run long. I asked Irad (Ortiz Jr.) and he thinks he'll run long. He's kind of laid back. I think he'll get seven-eighths (for the grade 1 Hopeful Stakes Sept. 4). I think he'll get a mile, mile and a quarter, really. He's that kind of horse."

Firenze Fire raced fourth early in the tightly bunched field of eight juvenile males Saturday before jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. asked him to advance around frontrunning Baffin into the turn. After posting early fractions of :22.27 and :46.06, Baffin began to fade and Firenze Fire assumed control heading down the stretch in the six-furlong test. 

Post-time favorite Free Drop Billy, under Robby Albarado, followed Firenze Fire's move into the stretch and made a final attempt to run down the leader but was forced to settle for second, crossing the wire a length back. The final time was 1:11.50 on a fast track. 

Psychoanalyze finished 5 1/4 lengths back in third, followed by Baffin in fourth. Bal Harbour, Admiral Jimmy, Direct Dial, and Nauti Buoy completed the order of finish. 

Sent off at 12-1, Firenze Fire returned $27, $10.40, and $6.30 across the board. 

"It's his second time out. He did everything right," Ortiz said. "I threw the reins at him and he really liked it. He was working really good in the mornings, so he's in good condition. He really was there for me. He looked like a really nice horse. Hopefully he stays sound and healthy."

Firenze Fire became his sire's first winner June 18 in a $36,000 five-furlong maiden special weight at Monmouth. In that race, he stalked the pace before rallying in the stretch to dust his competition by 3 1/2 lengths. His win in the Sanford made him the first black-type winner for grade 1 winner Poseidon's Warrior, who stands at Pleasant Acres Stallions in Florida for $6,500. 

Bred by his owner in Florida, Firenze Fire is the first foal out of the Langfuhr mare My Every Wish. The colt is now two for two and has earned $111,600. 

"It's an interesting story, we claimed (My Every Wish) and she didn't make it back to the races for whatever reasons and (Ron Lombardi of Mr. Amore Stables) decided that he was going to breed her," Servis said. "She didn't have much pedigree but, you know what, three years later, it's really something."