By Jonathan Lintner
Irad Ortiz Jr. rode at Laurel Park on Saturday for the first time in three years, and an early decision by the two-time defending Eclipse Award champion jockey may have made the difference in Firenze Fire’s Grade 3, $250,000 General George Stakes victory.
The classy 5-year-old broke on top in a field of seven and looked keen to set the pace. But Ortiz Jr., sensing a hot pace, took back and allowed the pair of Honor The Fleet and Factor It In to duel inside of Firenze Fire.
Those two faded after an opening half mile in 46.90 seconds, and Firenze Fire hit the top of the lane back in front. With plenty in reserve, he cruised to finish up seven furlongs in 1:22.38.
“He just sat there and relaxed, and when I asked him, he took off,” Ortiz Jr. said. “I was confident the whole time, to be honest. He broke running.”
Read more on Horse Racing Nation https://www.horseracingnation.com/news/Firenze_Fire_runs_winning_streak_to_three_in_Laurels_General_George_123