Bloodlines Presented By Merck Animal Health: Freshman ‘Fire’

by | 10.10.2017 | 11:30am
Firenze Fire wins the Champagne under Irad Ortiz Jr.

The 2-year-old crop of 2017 is reluctantly assuming some degree of order amidst the dust created by most graded stakes for juveniles being filled with non-winners of a race other than maiden. So the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park was a welcome relief as Firenze Fire took home the prize for his third victory from four starts.

Already a winner of the G3 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga, Firenze Fire is from the first crop by the Speightstown stallion Poseidon's Warrior, who became the first freshman sire of 2017 to get a G1 winner.

A stakes winner at 2 and 3 who progressed to win the G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Stakes at Saratoga as a 4-year-old, Poseidon's Warrior won 7 of 21 starts, earning $701,147. The Vanderbilt was his only victory at the premier level, but the bay son of Speightstown also ran third in the G1 Vosburgh behind The Lumber Guy and Caixa Eletronica. The Vanderbilt and Vosburgh were both at six furlongs, like all the black-type efforts by Poseidon's Warrior, who won four stakes, placed in five more.

Purchased as a 2-year-old in training at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale in May 2010 by Charles Zacney, Poseidon's Warrior raced initially in the name of Zacney's Cash Is King Stable, then for Swilcan Stable LLC from the midpoint of the colt's 3-year-old season onward. After concluding his racing career, Poseidon's Warrior retired to Pleasant Acres Stallions near Morriston, Fla.

Pleasant Acres's Michelle Hemingway recalled that she, along with farm owners Joe and Helen Barbazon, worked with an agent to “secure all the farm's stallions in the fall of 2013.”

Poseidon's Warrior was one of those, and the horse was syndicated into 50 shares, with the “previous ownership retaining some shares,” Hemingway said.

The breeder of Firenze Fire is not a shareholder, however. Ron Lombardi races and breeds under the name of Mr Amore Stable and bred the Champagne Stakes winner from his mare My Every Wish (by Langfuhr). On April 18, 2012, Lombardi claimed My Every Wish for $16,000 out of her second start when the filly ran a respectable second as the favorite. My Every Wish ran second in both her races, but something clearly went amiss that prevented the filly from pursuing a racing career.

Retired as a broodmare, My Every Wish produced the Champagne Stakes winner as her first registered foal in 2015. Barren for 2016, My Every Wish foaled a bay filly by Istan (Gone West) in 2017.

My Every Wish is one of four foals out of the Unbridled mare Mille Lacs, a full sister to 2011 Broodmare of the Year Oatsee. The latter produced five stakes winners, and the best-known of these are Preakness Stakes and Metropolitan Handicap winner Shackleford (Forestry) and the Alabama Stakes winner Lady Joanne (Orientate).

Shackleford is a second-crop stallion (first 3-year-olds of 2017) standing at Darby Dan Farm in Lexington, and Lady Joanne is a broodmare in Japan.

In the female line, Firenze Fire traces back to the fifth-generation In Reality mare Taminette, who is the dam of multiple G1 winner Tappiano (Fappiano) and two other stakes winners. Taminette was a full sister to English 2,000 Guineas winner Known Fact and a half-sister to major winner Tentam (Metropolitan Handicap, United Nations, and Jim Dandy) and to juvenile stakes winner Tamtent (both by In Reality's sire Intentionally), as well as to stakes winners Terete (Boldnesian) and Secrettame (Secretariat).

The latter produced the high-class racehorse and major international sire Gone West (Mr. Prospector), and the mating that produced the 2017 Champagne Stakes winner introduces Gone West in the male line through his important son, champion sprinter Speightstown.

Speightstown's first-crop son Munnings has been his sire's most important son at stud, with 23 stakes winners to date. Poseidon's Warrior came from the third crop by Speightstown, who has sired 83 stakes winners, including last year's Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Tamarkuz.

Standing for a 2017 advertised fee of $6,500, Poseidon's Warrior has 51 first-crop 2-year-olds. The stallion has had 19 starters, 3 winners, and 1 graded stakes winner to date. Following the Champagne success of Firenze Fire, Poseidon's Warrior ranks 5th on the freshmen sires list by gross earnings with $498,333.

Firenze Fire is scheduled to start next in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Del Mar.

Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is chief of biomechanics for DataTrack International and is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in central Kentucky. Check out Frank's lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.

  • Marlaine Meeker

    As always most interesting and so happy to see In Reality’s name in print.

  • Judy Gaddis

    I know it is WAAAAY to early to talk Derby, but I really like Firenze Fire. Hope he stays healthy and makes a decent showing (and comes back SAFE) in the Juvenile.

  • PointGivenTCL

    How does an owner lose a filly out of a full sister to Oatsee in a $16K maiden claimer, no matter how slow she is? Talk about poor judgment.

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