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Firenze Fire Dominates in $250,000 General George
Odds-On Favorite Notches Ninth Career Stakes Victory
LAUREL, MD – Mr Amore Stable’s Firenze Fire made a victorious 2020 debut Saturday at Laurel Park, notching his ninth career stakes victory in the $250,000 General George (G3) at Laurel Park.
The General George, a seven-furlong sprint for 4-year-olds and up, co-headlined Saturday’s Sprintfest Winter Carnival program with the $250,000 Barbara Fritchie, a seven-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares.
Firenze Fire, the 1-2 favorite ridden by Eclipse Award-winning Irad Ortiz Jr. broke alertly to take an early lead before settling a close third behind long shots Factor It In and Honor the Fleet during a 22.38-second first quarter. Under a motionless Ortiz, Firenze Fire moved three-wide on the far turn and effortlessly took over the lead on the turn into the homestretch. The 5-year-old son of Poseidon’s Warrior asserted his class through the stretch run to win by a comfortable four lengths.
“He broke so good out of the gate like always, and we didn’t want to go to the lead, so I tried to stay away from there and tried to settle, and he relaxed so well. I just sat right there and relaxed and when I asked him, he just took off,” Ortiz said. “I was confident the whole time, to be honest. He broke running and I felt like a winner all the time.”
Threes Over Deuces closed to finish second under Victor Rosales, a neck ahead of Still Having Fun and jockey Feargal Lynch.
The Jason Servis-trained Firenze Fire ran seven furlongs in 1:22.38 to win his 10th race in 24 races during a career that has included a victory in the Champagne (G1) as a 2-year-old, a start in the Kentucky Derby (G1) as a 3-year-old, and multiple stakes wins as a 4-year-old.
“It’s a dream come true. It’s unbelievable. He got us to the Kentucky Derby. We finished 11th but just to get to the Derby was truly amazing. A lot of people questioned my desire to get there, saying I was pushing the horse, but my feeling is anytime you can get to the Kentucky Derby you have to take it,” owner Ron Lombardi said. “He’s been a great horse. He’s solid. He rebounds well.”
Firenze Fire’s broodmare, My Every Wish, was winless in two starts in maiden claiming company.
“Firenze Fire is a homebred – that makes it that much more special,” Lombardi said. “Everyone said, “My Every Wish, the broodmare, don’t breed her.’ I just said, “I got nothing else to do but breeder her, and here we are.”
Lombardi said Firenze Fire is likely to run next in the Carter Handicap (G1) at Aqueduct April 4.
“He’s invited to Dubai, but Dubai takes a lot out of horses. I’m not ruling it out, but most likely we’ll stay local, stay in the States and continue racing, rather than lose a couple of months with the traveling,” Lombardi said.