Andiamo a Firenze aims to fire in G3 Sanford

July 15, 2022

Dalika looks to pull off upset in G1 Diana

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Ron Lombardi’s Mr. Amore Stable saw success at the highest level with multiple graded stakes-winning homebred Firenze Fire, who took the 2017 Grade 3 Sanford en route to a Grade 1 score in the Champagne at Belmont Park that fall. Lombardi will hope for lightning to strike twice in the Sanford when Firenze Fire’s three-quarter brother Andiamo a Firenze takes on the six-furlong sprint for juveniles on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course. 

A dark bay son of Speightstown, the New York-bred Andiamo a Firenze arrives from a sparkling debut win on June 3 for trainer Kelly Breen when he set the pace for a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight over a sloppy and sealed Belmont main track. Andiamo a Firenze widened his advantage to four lengths with a tap of the crop from Irad Ortiz, Jr. and earned an 80 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.

“He’s doing great and training really well. All systems are go,” said Lombardi. “His win was very impressive and there was some good company there. Irad gave him one tap of the crop just to keep him focused. He’s very mature and seems to be doing everything right. He does it with ease and he seems to be following every step to maturity.” 

The fourth named foal from the Langfuhr mare My Every Wish, Andiamo a Firenze will have big shoes to fill after Firenze Fire put together a career that included a run in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, nine graded stakes victories and over $2.7 million in earnings. 

Lombardi said that having the chance to campaign another horse with Firenze Fire’s potential is “something special.” 

“It was amazing to make it to the Derby with Firenze Fire, and to possibly do that again – Andiamo broke his maiden at Belmont, which puts him a step ahead on that,” Lombardi said. “Firenze Fire won the Sanford and then the Champagne, so we’re hoping [for the same campaign]. There’s a lot of good horses in the Sanford, but we’ll give it a chance.” 

Lombardi noted the physical difference between the two siblings. 

“Andiamo is a little on the smaller side. He likes the slop which Firenze Fire didn’t,” said Lombardi, with a laugh. “Hopefully he can make the distance. Kelly has been great. He’s good with the 2-year-olds and has been taking his time with him.”

In addition to the Sanford, Firenze Fire also earned Grade 1 placings with a third in the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial and two runner-up efforts in the Forego. Lombardi said he is looking forward to a chance for more Saratoga stakes success with Andiamo a Firenze. 

“It doesn’t get any better than this. This is what you dream about, and there’s no better place than this,” said Lombardi. “Everybody gets along and is there for the day and the horses. It’s so fun and it’s special to win. That’s what it’s all about. To win any race is special, but a stakes race is even more special.” 

Lombardi celebrated another Saratoga stakes win last summer when November Rein took the Seeking the Ante for New York-bred juvenile fillies going 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track in August. The daughter of Street Boss followed with a fifth-place finish in the Joseph A. Gimma next out at Belmont before an eight-month respite that ended with a return third in the restricted Bouwerie on May 30 at Belmont. 

November Rein found the winner’s circle again last out in a first-level 6 1/2-furlong allowance facing open company on July 9 over Big Sandy. She tracked in second for the first half-mile before dueling to the wire with pacesetter Baba and getting her head down at the wire in a final time of 1:16.21. 

Lombardi said the dark bay could potentially target a start in the Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Test on August 6 for her next outing. 

“November Rein ran really well, and her time was really good, so we’ll point to the Test,” Lombardi said. “She had been off since September, and she ran seven furlongs back in May; she got tired and needed the race. The next race paid off and I’m excited about it.” 

Out of the multiple stakes winner Ju Ju Eyeballs, November Rein has compiled a record of 6-3-1-1 and earnings of $243,350. 

Dalika looks to pull off upset in G1 Diana

Bal Mar Equines’ Dalika faces five competitors Saturday in the Grade 1, $500,000 Diana at Saratoga Race Course. The longest shot in the race at 15-1, Dalika will break from post 5 in the 1 1/8-mile turf route for older fillies and mares for trainer Al Stall, Jr. 

A daughter of Pastorius, the German-bred Dalika enters from a second-place finish in last month’s Grade 3 Old Forester Mint Julep at Churchill Downs where she went immediately to the lead and tried to wire the field before being caught late by Gam’s Mission. It was the 6-year-old mare’s first race of her 2022 campaign. 

“She had a freshening for the winter in Camden, South Carolina, and came back to run a nice race in the Mint Julep,” said Stall, Jr. “We kept her training as a 6-year-old just trying to participate and hit the board or get lucky in a Grade 1.”

The gray filly notched two wins last year, including the Grade 3 Robert G. Dick Memorial at Delaware Park. She finished fifth in her lone start at Saratoga last summer in the Grade 2, $250,000 Glens Falls.

“She’s been right on the schedule we mapped out for her. She does well up here and is happy up here and tries every time,” Stall, Jr. said. “She will be forwardly placed and she’ll take them as far as she can take them and hopefully we just get lucky.”

Dalika will have to travel an extra sixteenth of a mile in Saturday’s Diana versus what she was tasked with in the Old Forester Mint Julep. Ricardo Santana, Jr. will be in the irons once again. 

A competitive renewal of the Diana will see trainer Chad Brown saddle four horses, including the undefeated Bleecker Street; while Charlie Appleby has sent over Creative Flair from Europe.

Stall, Jr. said the steep opposition won’t be cause for changing his approach to the race.

“She’s a horse that you can’t fight. We’ve gotten into tussles with her before and it doesn’t work,” Stall, Jr. said. “We just let her bounce away from there and she just keeps going. We’re not going to change much. They might have to change if they want to, but we have to go because if we get into a war with her trying to slow her down, she gets resentful and doesn’t run her best race.”

Stall, Jr. said he is also looking forward to running FTGGG Racing’s Masqueparade, last year’s Ohio Derby winner, in the nine-furlong $135,000 Alydar on August 4 at Saratoga. 

Masqueparade shipped to Saratoga after a hard-fought victory at Churchill Downs in a third-level allowance optional claimer where he nosed out Intrepid Heart in just his second start of the year. 

“He wintered in South Carolina and came back and ran two really good races at Churchill, so this is the third race back,” Stall, Jr. said. “He likes Saratoga and he’s a better version of himself this year.”

Stall, Jr. said that there is no set next step for his colt following the Alydar although he listed the Grade 2, Charles Town Classic on August 26; or the Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup on September 3 at Saratoga as a possibility. The Jockey Club Gold Cup offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Keeneland. 

“He could go to Charles Town if he had to, or it would be lovely to go the Jockey Club Gold Cup,” Stall, Jr. said. 

Masqueparade is slated to work Friday morning at Saratoga.

By Upstart and out of the Any Given Saturday mare Cry War Eagle, Masqueparade raced twice here at Saratoga last summer, finishing a respectable third in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy and sixth in the Grade 1 Runhappy Travers to end his 2021 campaign. 

NYRA Press Office
Photo by Susie Raisher

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