07/22/2017 6:39PM

Firenze Fire rewards owner with Sanford Stakes win

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Barbara D. Livingston
Firenze Fire paid $27.00 in winning the Sanford Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Five years ago owner Ron Lombardi put up $16,000 to claim a 3-year-old maiden filly called My Every Wish out of her second lifetime start. She would never race again. So Lombardi, who races under the Nom de Course of Mr. Amore Stable, decided to make her a broodmare.

Lombardi was rewarded Saturday for his patience with a graded stakes victory after My Every Wish’s first foal, Firenze Fire, rallied to a one-length decision over the more fashionably bred Free Drop Billy in the Grade 3 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga.

Firenze Fire, who also gave his freshman sire Poseidon’s Warrior his first winner after capturing his career debut last month at Monmouth Park, was shuffled back a bit in traffic down the backstretch of the six-furlong Sanford. He made a quick move under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. to join the pace-setting Admiral Jimmy on the final turn, took command near the eighth pole and after edging clear withstood a late bid from Free Drop Billy. The latter, surprisingly bet to 3-1 favoritism in the wide-open field of eight 2-year-olds, broke a step slow, raced near the rear of the pack during the early going, eased out for the drive while advancing but was unable to get to the winner. Psychoanalyze finished another 5 1/4 lengths farther back in third.

Firenze Fire, a Florida-bred trained by Jason Servis, completed the distance in 1:11.50 and paid $27.00 while giving Ortiz his third of four winners on the card.  

“The horse was always very classy, but when he won first time I was a little surprised,” Servis said. “There weren’t many spots around, so I figured this is where we’ve got to take a shot. It all worked out, and it’s very exciting. And it’s such a good story. We claimed the filly, she never made it back to the races, she didn’t have much pedigree, but Ron decided to breed her, and sure enough, three years later, here we are.”