Firenze Fire, Flagstaff to Meet in True North Stakes

A pair of veteran runners who turned in top efforts in their most recent races, Flagstaff  and Firenze Fire , are scheduled to meet in the $300,000 True North Stakes (G2) June 4 at Belmont Park.

Flagstaff, campaigned by Lane’s End Racing and Hronis Racing, will try to secure a third straight graded stakes win in Friday’s 6 1/2-furlong test for older horses. Trained by John Sadler, the 7-year-old Speightstown   gelding rallied from fifth to post a narrow victory in the May 1 Churchill Downs Stakes Presented by Ford (G1) at Churchill Downs. That effort—the first grade 1 victory of his 19-race career—followed a clear win in the April 3 Commonwealth Stakes (G3) at Keeneland.

“It was great; he ran two dynamite races in Kentucky,” said Sadler, who won the 2019 edition of the True North with Catalina Cruiser  . “Both of those races were seven furlongs, but we think that 6 1/2 furlongs should be good for him also.”

Unraced until his 4-year-old season, Flagstaff has made up for lost time, winning stakes at ages 5, 6, and 7. After making the bulk of his starts in California, Flagstaff will ship to New York for the first time. In the expected field of seven, he drew post 2, alongside last year’s True North winner Firenze Fire, who drew the rail.

“He almost has no bad races on his form,” Sadler said. “He’s just a nice honest horse and has run with top class horses all the time. He’s well-bred and he’s a gelding so we try to take good care of him and make him last.”

Luis Saez was aboard for the Churchill Downs and has been named to ride Friday.

While grade 1 winner Firenze Fire has raced well at a number of tracks in posting a 13-4-3 mark from 32 races and earnings of more than $2.3 million, the 6-year-old son of Poseidon’s Warrior  has been especially effective at Belmont, where he has won six of his nine starts for owner/breeder Mr. Amore Stables. The most recent of those six wins is a 3 1/4-length victory May 8 in the Runhappy Stakes (G3), and last year he drew off late for a 1 1/2-length win in the True North.

Video: True North S. (G2)

Irad Ortiz Jr. was on board for both of those wins and is scheduled to ride Friday. Firenze Fire is trained by Kelly Breen.

Long Lake Stable, Madaket Stables, Thomas Coleman, and Doheny Racing Stable’s Looking At Bikinis  enters off a clear victory in an April 24 allowance race at Belmont where he defeated two other horses entered Friday in runner-up American Power  and third-place Wicked Trick .

Phat Man  will start outside after finishing fifth in the Churchill Downs and Big Engine  enters off a third-place finish in the Affirmed Success Stakes for New York-breds.

Entries: True North S. (G2)

Belmont Park, Friday, June 04, 2021, Race 7

  • Grade II
  • 6 1/2f
  • Dirt
  • $300,000
  • 4 yo’s & up
  • 4:07 PM (local)

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