Sunday, February 4, 2018
It's been 21 years since a Florida-bred won the Kentucky Derby - Silver Charm in 1997. In fact, Florida-breds even entered in the 20-horse fields of the Run for the Roses has become more and more of a rarity every year.
It's no mystery why: just peruse the pages of the Florida Horse Stallion Register. The number of stallions commanding any kind of price in Florida are as rare as the Derby entrants.
Firenze Fire could be the one to reverse the trend. He has, at least, an excellent chance to make the starting gate on the first Saturday in May. The 3-year-old son of Pleasant Acres Stallions Poseidon's Warrior finished second yesterday in the Gr. III Withers at Aqueduct, and the four points he earned raised his total to 24, tied at the top of the list with Good Magic.
Granted, there are many preps still to be run, but 30 points usually gets a horse into the starting gate. Owner Ron Lombardi expects to enter his colt in the March 10 Gotham at Aqueduct, then the Wood Memorial in April. With his closing ability, Firenze Fire can easily pick up the points needed to accomplish his goal. And that closing ability could get him some piece of the purse in Louisville. Stranger things have happened.
Firenze Fire has competed in six stakes during his seven-race career. He's won the Gr. I Champagne, the Gr. III Sanford and the non-graded Jerome, has been second in the Gr. III Withers, fourth in the Gr. I Hopeful, and, in his lone poor effort, seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He's earned $589,100 and could accomplish something unique in Florida - reaching millionaire status for Poseidon's Warrior, a first-crop stallion. It would be a great feather in the cap of Pleasant Acres' owners Joe and Helen Barbazon, who have jumped into the stallion game full force when so many others in Ocala have headed in the other direction.
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