Originally, the 2018 Jerome Stakes was to take place on New Year’s Day, ushering in a new season of three-year-old colts on the perfect day. Mother nature had other plans and froze the northeast with blizzards and storms which curtailed any action at Aqueduct and the neighboring tracks throughout the region. Thankfully, the weather has eased up and the 2018 Kentucky Derby prep race will go off not-as-scheduled on Saturday, January 13th.
Temperatures are expected to inch in to the high 40’s, providing the usual winter climate that horsemen have expected in New York state and the surrounding area at this time of year.
It’s probably apt that the favorite in the 2018 Jerome Stakes is named Firenze Fire. The John Servis trainee is undoubtedly talented, but has had trouble putting in consistent work throughout his young career. He followed up a win in the 2017 Sanford with a 4th place finish in the Bob Hope Stakes before scoring a victory over Good Magic in the Champagne Stakes. The then two-year-old colt was one of the contenders for the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile before misfiring and finishing 7th in a race eventually won by Good Magic himself.
So this is a big test for the colt, who has been attempting to get some training in out at Belmont Park. Servis, however, is not entirely optimistic. “We still entered, but the training hasn’t been ideal,” Servis commented.
That might not matter. The field for the 2018 Jerome isn’t packed with many true contenders, and all of them have suffered from erratic scheduling due to the weather as well. Honor Up and Diamond King were supposed to potential spoilers on New Year’s Day but have withdrawn. Millionaire Runner will also not be featured. Those three will instead be replaced by Coltandmississippi, Factor This and Glennwood.
By sheer rating and experience alone, Firenze Fire is the horse to bank on and should probably see his odds increase past the even mark they’re expected to open at come Saturday. Factor This finished second at an aqueduct maiden special weight last November, while the other new entrants have not performed well at all. Seven Trumpets is still the biggest threat and was a 4/1 option two weeks ago.
The focus will be on how Firenze Fire performs and if he can be relied upon further down the derby trail. That’s the biggest mark of intrigue for this race. The Jerome offers 10-4-2-1 points for the top four finishers and a $150,000 purse.
2018 Jerome – Saturday, January 13th at Aqueduct Racetrack
1 Mile – 3 Year Olds – $150,000
|1||Coltandmississippi||T. McCarthy||116||Todd Pletcher||–|
|2||Factor This||Dylan Davis||118||Edward Barker||–|
|3||Regalian (KY)||Luis R. Reyes||116||Chris J. Englehart||15/1|
|4||Old Time Revival (FL)||Paco Lopez||116||Kenneth Decker||10/1|
|5||Firenze Fire (FL)||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||122||Jason Servis||1/1|
|6||Smooth B (PA)||Joseph Rocco, Jr.||118||Robert E. Reid, Jr.||20/1|
|7||Seven Trumpets (KY)||Robby Albarado||118||Dale L. Romans||4/1|
|8||Glennwood||K. Carmouche||116||Eric Wilkinson||–|
*these were the previous odds for when the 2018 Jerome was scheduled on January 1st