Distorted Humor's Fire With Fire unleashed a powerful closing kick to win Saturday’s $200,000 Charles Whittingham S. (G2) by a neck, the second graded stakes win of 2014, and fifth black-type victory overall, for the 5-year-old.
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Fire With Fire is Distorted Humor's leading earner of 2014 and one of his 13 stakes horses this year for the two-time champion sire.
Usually on or near the lead early in his races, Fire With Fire was in the back half of the nine horse field for the first mile in the 1 1/4-mile turf marathon. Tyle Baze guided him three wide into the stretch, rolling up between Segway and Quick Casablanca to win by a neck in 2:00.92.
“I can do whatever I want with him, he’s very classy,” said Baze. “I know he’s going to be there when I ask him and he’s really shown me, from last year to this year, that he likes being out there on the lead. I thought I would be laying third today to Segway and Bright Thought, but it just didn’t work out that way. When we started going around the far turn, he just started to go on by himself and I thought ‘good, he’s showing up and gonna run his race today!’ It’s so nice to ride a horse like him, who’s so honest.”
Likewise, trainer Neil Drysdale echoed Baze's reflection on the change in running style.
“Obviously, we discovered that he doesn’t need to be on the lead. His last two races, he’s kicked on very well. The race set up very well. When Quick Casablanca came at him, he went with him. Tyler gave him a lovely ride, didn’t he? The horse runs for him.”
With the $120,000 payday, Fire With Fire has now racked up $655,354 for his owner David Heerensperger. Bred in Kentucky by Patricia Pavlish, Fire With Fire is out of the multiple stakes-placed mare Cosmic Fire and is a half-brother to Cosmonaut, a four-time Grade 3 winner of nearly $1.4 million.