Lombardi Hopeful Andiamo a Firenze Can Follow in Brother’s Footsteps

January 5, 2023

Andiamo a Firenze takes the Funny Cide Aug. 26 (Joe Labozzetta)

NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Owner Ron Lombardi of Mr. Amore Stable expressed a sense of confidence that graded-stakes placed New York homebred Andiamo a Firenze can carry on a family tradition by winning Saturday’s $150,000 Jerome for newly turned 3-year-olds going a one-turn mile at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The Jerome, which will see its 152nd renewal, is a qualifying race for the Grade 1, $3 million Kentucky Derby on May 6 at Churchill Downs, awarding 10-4-3-2-1 points to the top-five finishers.

Andiamo a Firenze, a Kelly Breen-trained Speightstown colt out of the Langfuhr mare My Every Wish, is a three-quarter sibling to multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Firenze Fire, who won the 2018 Jerome. Firenze Fire, a son of Poseidon’s Warrior [by Speightstown], went on to finish 11th in that year’s Grade 1 Kentucky Derby behind subsequent Triple Crown winner Justify.

“This race kicked off Firenze Fire’s run for the Derby, so I’m hoping to have the same luck. Hopefully, he can follow in his brother’s footsteps,” Lombardi said. “It would be really awesome to get back on the Derby trail, especially with a three-quarter sibling to Firenze Fire. That would be an almost unheard of type of thing for someone like me. Kelly is very excited about him and doesn’t think the distance will be a problem for him at all. Firenze Fire turned out to be really more of a sprinter to a mile type, but Kelly has been stretching this one out and likes what he’s doing.”

Andiamo a Firenze enters the Jerome off a narrow runner-up finish in the six-furlong New York Breeders’ Futurity on October 17 at Finger Lakes. He battled on the front end to the outside of Acoustic Ave through swift fractions before being joined to the far outside by Stonewall Star. The trio of juveniles battled down the stretch with Andiamo a Firenze gaining a slight advantage in mid-stretch, but lost the head bob to Acoustic Ave.

“He ran great. We were stuck between horses and we couldn’t even ask him or get going,” Lombardi recalled. “It was that tight. In my mind, I think we would have won with a little bit more space, but it was a great race and a good way to finish off his 2-year-old campaign. I’m excited about Saturday. It won’t be an easy race, but none of them are at this level.”

Andiamo a Firenze gave his connections plenty to be excited about during his juvenile season, including a 5 1/2-length triumph in the Funny Cide presented by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital on August 26 at Saratoga Race Course.

A four-length winner on debut against fellow state-breds in June at Belmont Park, he made his stakes debut with a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Sanford on July 16 at the Spa, finishing two lengths ahead of subsequent Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Forte. In his lone off-the-board effort, he was a distant fourth in the Grade 1 Champagne on October 1 at Belmont at the Big A.

Lombardi said they decided Andiamo a Firenze would train up to the Jerome following his effort in the New York Breeders’ Futurity.

“We really just wanted to gear up for this. From early on, everyone was very impressed with him. We were aware that we may have something special, so we decided to rest up for the Jerome and try to get him on the Derby trail from there. It was pre-meditated that we would run,” Lombardi said. “I skipped the Breeders’ Cup, which I don’t know if it was a good decision or not. In the Sanford, we came in third and Forte came in fourth, so you scratch your head sometimes, but you have to make the decision and live with it. We’ll take it one race at a time and get this one under our belt.”

Lombardi said he has two more New York-breds from My Every Wish, including a 2-year-old full-brother to Firenze Fire named Fuji Fire and an Honest Mischief filly produced last year named Blakely’s Wish.

Lombardi lamented the loss of My Every Wish, who he said died one week after giving birth to Blakely’s Wish.

“She’s no longer with us, which is a loss. She produced some nice runners,” Lombardi said. “But I just retired [stakes-placed mare] Firenze Freedom [by Istan] and she’ll be breeding and hopefully Blakely’s Wish can show some promise. She’s a big, beautiful looking horse.”

Andiamo a Firenze will break from post 5 under Kendrick Carmouche and has been tabbed at 6-1 morning line odds by NYRA oddsmaker David Aragona.

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