How to bet with, and against, Firenze Fire in the John A. Nerud Stakes
A cast of seven will contest Sunday’s $250,000 John A. Nerud S. (G2) at Belmont Park. The July 4 feature is the finale of a strong 10-race card, pitting a nice group of dashers in a seven-furlong test over Big Sandy.
Top sprinter #1 Firenze Fire is clearly the one to beat on class and form, and he has rolled home to a pair of fantastic graded stakes tallies this campaign for Kelly Breen. The Florida-bred bay also loves Belmont Park with a 7-for-10 local record, and he will be formidable with his best effort.
With Firenze Fire
The son of Poseidon’s Warrior can win from on or off the pace, as he has shown from his last pair of outings, and he is obviously among the top one-turn horses in the country. The six-year-old is alert from the gate and has the chance to lead at every call throughout with Irad Ortiz up.
#6 Three Technique has run two excellent races in succession and seems like a most logical exacta contender for Englehart. The four-year-old son of Mr. Speaker has never finished out of the top three at Belmont, and he could be rounding up to a peak showing third time off the shelf, as well. Manny Franco retains the mount and will have the four-year-old tracking the pace from the second flight from the onset.
- Exacta 1 with 6
Against Firenze Fire
I think that there are two ways where Firenze Fire could go down at short odds. The first scenario is if he breaks slowly from the rail and gets shuffled back and/or pinned down on the fence early on. #3 American Power, a game third in the True North (G2) last time out, is plenty fast and will attempt to gain the edge from the start. The chestnut would benefit most if that occurs.
The second reason could be if the surface comes up sloppy. Firenze Fire has been defeated by a combined 25 lengths in his last two tries in the slop, and he is just 2-for-6 on off ovals overall. With a likelihood of rain over the weekend forecast in the Belmont area, he might receive a surface that he doesn’t prefer which could leave him vulnerable as the chalk.
- Trifecta 3,6 with 3,6 with all