By Christie DeBernardis
Last term’s GI Champagne S. upsetter Firenze Fire (Poseidon’s Warrior) makes his sophomore bow in Aqueduct’s Jerome S., which was downgraded from a Grade III to a listed stake for 2018, but still offers the winner 10 points towards a spot in the gate for the GI Kentucky Derby.
Following his debut win at Monmouth in June with a victory in Saratoga’s GIII Sanford S., the Jason Servis pupil checked in fourth in the GI Hopeful S. Sept. 4. The bay rebounded with a half-length defeat of next-out GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Good Magic (Curlin) in the Champagne Oct. 7, a race which was further flattered when third-place finished Enticed (Medaglia d’Oro) came back to win the GII Kentucky Jockeu Club S. in his next start Nov. 25. Firenze Fire was last seen finishing a non-factor seventh when stretched to two turns for the first time in the Breeders’ Cup Nov. 4.
Dale Romans ships in an interesting contender in West Point Thoroughbreds’ Seven Trumpets (Morning Line). A second-out graduate at Churchill Oct. 29, the dark bay followed suit with an optional claimer score beneath the Twin Spires Nov. 25, but has never been tried beyond 6 1/2 furlongs.
Todd Pletcher also ships a runner in from Florida for this test in Coltsandmississippi (Pioneerof the Nile). The $400,000 KEENOV buy graduated at first asking at Saratoga Aug. 12, but failed to fire after being bumped early in the Sapling S. at Monmouth a month later. Romping by six lengths in a Gulfstream Park West optional claimer Oct. 27, the bay checked in fifth in a sloppy renewal of the Smooth Air S. Dec. 9.