10/09/2017 3:20PM

Sparkman: Firenze Fire scores for young sire Poseidon's Warrior

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Barbara D. Livingston
Firenze Fire, by Poseidon's Warrior, wins the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park.

The big book era of Thoroughbred breeding has made it more and more difficult for stallions outside the mainstream in regional markets to follow in the footsteps of great stallions of the past like Mr. Prospector and Halo, or more recently Malibu Moon. With more than 100 Kentucky stallions covering 100 or more mares each year, that does not leave many quality mares for stallions standing in regional markets.

To keep mares coming through the breeding shed doors, young stallions in regional markets simply must sire high-quality stakes winners in their first crops of 2-year-olds. Poseidon’s Warrior, who stands at Pleasant Acres Stallions in Morriston, Fla., passed that test Saturday, when his promising son Firenze Fire ran down the pacesetters from far back to easily win the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park.

Bred in Maryland by David Hayden’s Dark Hollow Farm and William Beatson, Poseidon’s Warrior is from the third crop by the champion sprinter and outstanding sire Speightstown from a long-prominent family in Maryland that has not made much of an impression elsewhere for several generations. His half-brother Play Bingo, by Polish Numbers, won the Maryland Million Classic restricted to Maryland-sired runners, and his half-sister Quick ’n Smart, by Polish Numbers, won listed races in New Jersey and produced dual Grade 3 Highlander Handicap winner Smart Enough, by Horse Chestnut. Poseidon’s Warrior’s dam, Poised to Pounce, by Smarten, is half-sister to Maryland stakes winner Smart ’n Quick, by Wise Exchange, out of another Maryland stakes winner Lady Lyndy, by Bold Favorite.

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Sold for $90,000 to Chuck Zacney of Afleet Alex fame at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training, Poseidon’s Warrior won first time out at Philadelphia Park for Zacney’s Cash Is King Stable and added an easy win in the NATC Futurity at Monmouth restricted to graduates of juvenile sales later at 2.

Poseidon’s Warrior won 4 of 9 starts at 3, including the East Hanover and Le Bagoter stakes on the Mid-Atlantic circuit, changing hands to race in the name of Swilcan Stable midway through the season. He won only once in seven starts at 4, but that was the big one, springing a 36-1 upset over Grade 1 winners Justin Phillip and Emcee in the Grade 1 Alfred Vanderbilt over six muddy furlongs at Saratoga.

That earned him his place at stud, and he has 51 2-year-olds to represent him this year.

Firenze Fire, who was bred in Florida and owned by Mr. Amore Stable, is his only black-type performer to date. He is the first foal out of My Every Wish, by Langfuhr, who was bred by the late Bentley Smith (son-in-law of Unbridled’s owner Frances Genter) and sold for $40,000 to Martin Anthony at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale. My Every Wish raced only twice at Aqueduct as a 3-year-old, finishing second both times. She was claimed each time, first by Drawing Away Stable for $12,500 from Crown Stable and John Caputo, and then by Mr. Amore Stable for $17,500.

Firenze Fire’s second dam, Mille Lacs, by Unbridled, did not produce a black-type horse, but she is a half-sister to stakes-placed Oatsee, who earned Broodmare of the Year honors in 2011 through the exploits of Grade 1 Preakness and Metropolitan Handicap winner Shackleford, by Forestry; Grade 1 Alabama Stakes winner Lady Joanne, by Orientate; Grade 2 winner Afleeting Lady, by Afleet Alex; Grade 3 winner Baghdaria, by Royal Academy; and stakes winner Stephanoatsee, by A.P. Indy. Oatsee  also is granddam of Grade 3 winner Florida Won, by Birdstone; and stakes winner Uncle Lino, by Uncle Mo.

Firenze Fire’s fifth dam, Taminette, by In Reality, a full sister to English champion Known Fact and half-sister to Grade 1 winner Tentam and to the dam of Gone West, also produced Grade 1 winner Tappiano, by Fappiano, for Genter. The family traces to the great foundation mare Persian Maid.

My Every Wish has since produced a weanling filly by Istan and was bred back to Fast Anna this year.

Poseidon’s Warrior still has much to prove before Kentucky stallion masters will begin throwing money his way, but he has proven he can sire a quality racehorse. And if Firenze Fire should follow through at Del Mar next month, the phone might well start ringing.