Firenze Fire heads Jerome field on Kentucky Derby 2018 trail

Firenze Fire heads Jerome field on Kentucky Derby 2018 trail
Photo: Sue Kawczynski/Eclipse Sportswire

Mr. Amore Stable's Firenze Fire will look to start his 3-year-old season in the same stellar fashion in which he commenced his juvenile campaign, drawing post 5 in the 148th running of the $150,000 Jerome Stakes set for Monday -- New Year's Day -- at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Contested at one mile, the Jerome is the year's first official prep race on the road to the 2018 Kentucky Derby, where 10 points will be awarded to the winner, four given to a runner-up, two to the third-place finisher and one point given to fourth place for qualifying for the "Run for the Roses" on May 5.

Firenze Fire, a two-time graded stakes winner, will headline a field of eight newly minted 3-year-olds. As a juvenile, the Poseidon Warrior colt won his first two career starts, including a one-length win over Free Drop Billy in the Grade 3 Sanford on July 22 at Saratoga Race Course.

After running fourth in the Grade 1 Hopeful at the Spa, Firenze Fire earned a personal-best 90 Beyer Speed Figure in rallying from 10th to capture the Grade 1 Champagne by a half-length over Good Magic on Oct. 7 at Belmont Park.

Good Magic went on to the win the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Nov. 4 at Del Mar, with Firenze Fire settling for seventh. After a nearly two-month break, the Jason Servis trainee will make his Aqueduct debut.

"He's being doing OK, so we'll see what happens," Servis said. "I'm not looking for anything particular except a good race."

Irad Ortiz Jr., who has been aboard for all five of Firenze Fire's previous starts, will have the return call.

Millionaire Runner made a step up in class last out, running seventh in the Grade 2 Remsen on Dec. 2 in his graded stakes debut. The son of Warrior's Reward broke his maiden in his fourth asking on Nov. 25 at Parx and will be running in his second straight Kentucky Derby prep race after finishing seventh in the Grade 2 Remsen on Dec. 2.

Owned and trained by Jamie Mejia, Millionaire Runner will have the services of jockey Luis Ocasio from the outside.

West Point Thoroughbreds' Seven Trumpets will make the jump to stakes company after back-to-back wins at Churchill Downs. Trained by Dale Romans, Seven Trumpets is 2-for-2 since jockey Robbie Albarado took over the riding duties following his fifth-place finish in his debut on July 15 at Ellis Park.

Seven Trumpets will stretch out to one mile after never racing longer than 6 ½ furlongs. Albarado will have the return call from post 7.

Diamond King, who is also entered in the $100,000 Heft Stakes on Saturday at Laurel Park, drew post 2 in the Jerome for trainer Butch Reid. Diamond King started his career 2-for-2 before Reid sent him to Churchill Downs for the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club. But Diamond King clipped heels nearing the first run, throwing jockey Frankie Pennington to the ground.

Reid told the Daily Racing Form that Diamond King suffered only a couple of scratches and some light swelling but has healed. Should he run in the Jerome, Pennington will again have the call.

Diamond King's stablemate Smooth B will be looking to place for the first time in four stakes starts. Joseph Rocco, Jr. will ride in breaking from post 6.

Rounding out the field is Old Time Revival, trained by Ken Decker, who will make his first stakes start, drawing post 4 with Paco Lopez in the irons; Honor Up, a first-time stakes starter for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, exiting from the rail; and Regalian, trained by Chris Englehart, out of post 3.

Source: NYRA news release

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