Fierceness Likely to Return in GI Florida Derby

Fierceness (outside) ranges up on eventual Holy Bull winner Hades before fading to thirdNicole Thomas

Champion Fierceness (City of Light) continued his preparations for a likely start in the GI Curlin Florida Derby Mar. 30 with a half-mile breeze Friday at Palm Beach Downs in company with fellow 'TDN Rising Star' Agate Road (Quality Road). The pair clocked in at :48.89, leaving conditioner Todd Pletcher satisfied with the progress he'd seen since the GIII Holy Bull S.

“Fierceness and Agate Road breezed a half together and both did really well, especially Fierceness. [He had] a strong gallop-out, looked good. He's continued to train really good since the Holy Bull,” Pletcher said.

He also added that, while Fierceness had also been training well up to his seasonal debut, the race dynamics may've done more against him than they'd initially thought. “[…] I don't think he needed a race. I think our expectations were so high for him that maybe we're not looking at it realistically. If you watch the start of the race, he got slammed pretty hard from both sides. Johnny [Velazquez], in order to execute the game plan, had to use him pretty hard to get to the first turn in the position we wanted to.”

“He could have been a little rusty off the layoff, even though he was training great. He was top weight. [There are] a lot of subtle excuses that, for an ordinary horse, you would try to justify it. In his case, he trained so well and we expected so much of him, sometimes you think he can overcome everything.”

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