03/20/2016 12:07PM

Morning Fire dominates Spectacular Bid Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Morning Fire, under Daniel Centeno, scores by three lengths in the seven-furlong Spectacular Bid.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. ---   Morning Fire used his abundant speed to dominate Saturday’s $75,000 Spectacular Bid, leading every step of the way en route to a convincing three-length triumph over the 25-1 Extravagant Kid in the seven-furlong dash for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park.

With regular rider Daniel Centeno aboard, Morning Fire broke on top and quickly opened a clear advantage, set an honest pace of 22.16 and 44.75 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and half-mile, and was never seriously menaced at any point. Extravagant Kid chased the winner, lugged in a bit at midstretch, and was easily second-best, finishing six lengths in front of third-place finisher Dan the Go to Man.

Morning Fire is a Pennsylvania-bred son of Friesan Fire and trained by Keith Nations for Mercedes Stables. The winner was the first horse Nations ever saddled at Gulfstream Park. He paid $7.20 after completing 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.16.

“He’s never run a bad race for us,” said Nations. “He’s done everything right, from Day 1. I was surprised he made the lead that easily. I keep telling Daniel that this horse doesn’t have to be on the lead but he always seems to find his way there.”

Nations said he has no idea what will be next for Morning Fire.

“We keep thinking we’re going to give him a break but he just keeps running good,” said Nations. “He comes out of his races great. He’s an extremely sound horse. We were going to take the blinkers off and run him in the Tampa Bay Derby, but we decided to keep them on instead and run him here and it all worked out. Right now we’re going to take this all in, our first trip to Gulfstream Park, and then we’ll figure things out.”