I don’t know what the future holds for horse racing, or if there’s much of one to hold. It feels like it could be consigned to the past within the next decade. Or maybe sports gambling will revive interest as more tracks get their own sportsbook to go with the slots they needed years ago. Or maybe the public’s appetite for more stories of mistreatment of the horses will grow even smaller or disappear altogether, forcing the shutdown of the industry (California came closer to this a few years ago than they’d like to admit, and are still dealing with it).
You’d think with all that going on, the horses themselves would stick together. Strength in unity, kids, for whatever it is you want to achieve. But apparently Firenze Fire is only interested in what Firenze Fire can achieve. That was the case yesterday at Saratoga during the Grade 1 Forego Handicap:
This is a better angle:
The kicker here is this happened TO Firenze Fire three years ago at Parx:
Horse racing has a term for this, which is “savaging,” the rare case of horse racing making something sound cooler than it already did. Whether or not Firenze Fire cost himself the win by slowing his momentum to try and snack on live flesh we leave to you, but it certainly didn’t help. Former White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson also had a term that made baseball players he liked sound cooler than they were: “The Will to Win” (TWTW). No one is really sure how it’s measured, but TWTW is somehow analgous to things like “grit,” “hustle” and “toughness.” And the only way a player could acquire TWTW was to have Harrelson bestow it upon him. And Hawk couldn’t define it, but he knew it when he saw it.
As you might have guessed, Firenze Fire’s trainer, Kelly Breen, was somewhat impressed. “He went after him two times in four full strides,” he said. “He’s a tough cookie. I have never seen him do anything like that before.”
I guess getting under the wire first meant a lot more to Firenze Fire than it does to most horses. That’s TWTW.