Firenze Fire (Poseidon’s Warrior) and jockey Jose Ortiz win the True North (II) at Belmont Park 6/4/21. Trainer: Kelly Breen. Owner: Mr. Amore Stables
Dashing out to a fast start, Firenze Fire dueled with Flagstaff for a half-mile and pulled away in the stretch to repeat in the Grade 2 True North Stakes at Belmont Park. Ridden by Jose Ortiz, Firenze Fire broke cleanly from post position one, took a short lead in the opening strides, and was quickly joined by Lane’s End‘s Flagstaff, with American Power and Wicked Trick trailing.
The two leaders set fast early fractions, going :22.71 for the first quarter and then :45.39 for the half-mile. As the field of seven turned for home, Firenze Fire pulled away from Flagstaff to win by a length and a half in 1:15.52 for the six-and-a-half furlongs. American Power finished third with Wicked Trick in fourth. Phat Man, Looking at Bikinis, and Big Engine completed the field.
Owned by Mr. Amore Stable and trained by Kelly Breen, Firenze Fire is a Florida-bred 6-year-old horse by Poseidon’s Warrior (Speightstown) out of My Every Wish (Langfuhr). Firenze Fire’s previous victories include the Grade 3 Runhappy Stakes, the Grade 2 Vosburgh Stakes, and the 2020 edition of the G2 True North, all at Belmont Park.
Jose Ortiz picked up the mount on Firenze Fire from his brother, Irad Ortiz, Jr., who is out for two weeks with an injury sustained on June 3. After the race, he shared what his brother had to say about the son of Poseidon’s Warrior: “He [Irad] said he’s a very nice horse and that he was going to break good. He told me he thought he was a better horse on the outside. But he got the rail and he jumped good and I didn’t want to take anything away from him. I rode him like he was the best horse and he was the best horse.”
Trainer Kelly Breen was pleased with his horse’s repeat victory in the True North.
“He’s been training great. I think he’s more even-keel now.” Breen told the NYRA press office. “I’m getting to know him even more than last year and maybe he’s getting to know me, also. It’s a pretty good combo right now. The first quarter was :22.3 and that’s in his wheelhouse. I said we should be fine and I said that to Ron [Lombardi, the owner of Mr. Amore Stable]. That wasn’t the original game plan, although we left the game plan up to Jose Ortiz. He came back and said he’s a very nice horse. That’s it. He’s a class horse.”
Firenze Fire went off as the even-money favorite and paid $4.10, $2.60, and $2.30. Flagstaff (4-1) paid $3.70 and $3.10. American Power (15-1) paid $3.80 to show.
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