ield of 10 line up for re-scheduled $100K Franklin Square
Forewarned, owned and trained by Uriah St. Lewis, is not to be overlooked in Saturday’s $100,000 Jazil, a nine-furlong test for older horses at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Last out, the 7-year-old Flat Out bay rallied from seventh to collar returning rival Empty Tomb and post a 42-1 upset in the nine-furlong $125,000 Queens County on December 19 at the Big A.
Bred in Ohio by Preston Stables, the 10-time winner is rarely the favorite outside of his native state where he has won the 10-furlong Best of Ohio Endurance three years running at Mahoning Valley Race Course.
“Distance is his best friend,” St. Lewis said. “He needs a mile and a quarter, but he can handle a mile and an eighth. It worked out fine for him last time – they went fast up front and that really helped him.”
After winning the Best of Ohio Endurance as the mutuel choice in 2019-20, Forewarned went to post as the second-choice in this year’s edition in October, besting the 4-5 favorite Wicked Warrior by 3 1/2-lengths.
“People in Ohio have been calling about him because he’s been doing so good there and they would like to breed to him,” St. Lewis said. “So, I think he might find himself a home there when he’s finished.”
Forewarned finished fourth in the nine-furlong Richard W. Small in November with Dexter Haddock up for the first time. Haddock retained the mount for the Queens County and utilized a patient ride, rallying five-wide to get the money.
St. Lewis said Haddock has earned his trust aboard the headstrong Forewarned, who trains without company.
“He comes to the barn every day and we talk. He sees him train because only the exercise rider gets on him. He has a lot of confidence in the horse,” St. Lewis said.
Haddock will pilot Forewarned from post 7.
Klaravich Stables’ Core Conviction, a lightly-raced 5-year-old American Pharoah gelding, will make his stakes debut for four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown.
Bred in Kentucky by Pollock Farms, Core Conviction graduated at second asking in November sprinting seven furlongs at the Big A with a 5 1/2-length score over Waxman, who has since won two straight races in impressive fashion. Core Conviction’s gate-to-wire triumph garnered a 93 Beyer.
Core Conviction followed with a gritty three-quarter length score over multiple stakes placed Three Jokers on December 12, making every pole a winning one in a one-turn mile at Aqueduct.
The dark bay worked a half-mile in 49.49 seconds January 14 over the Belmont dirt training track.
Jose Ortiz retains the mount from post 5.
JKX Racing’s Why Why Paul Why enters on a four-race win streak at Parx dating to a September 8 optional-claiming tilt and culminating with a post-Christmas gift with a 2 1/4-length score on December 28 in the one mile and 70 yard Kris Kringle.
Trained by Penny Pearce, the 5-year-old Archarcharch bay was claimed for $30,000 out of a sixth-place finish in June at Churchill Downs and has subsequently posted a record of 6-5-1-0 for new connections. His lone loss was in August to the in-form Shoo Shine, who exited that effort to capture an allowance tilt at Monmouth Park.
Why Why Paul Why breezed five-eighths in 1:03.15 Friday over the Parx main track.
Out of the Whywhywhy mare Precious Beauty, Why Why Paul Why was bred in Kentucky by Patchen Wilkes Farm.
Kendrick Carmouche will pilot Why Why Paul Why from the inside post.
John Grossi’s Racing Corp.’s Empty Tomb will look to turn the tables on Forewarned for trainer Robert Falcone, Jr.
Empty Tomb was claimed for $80,000 from a third-place finish in a nine-furlong optional-claiming tilt in August at Saratoga. Following a pair of off-the-board efforts in stakes events, Empty Tomb posted a game three-quarter length score over Jazil rival First Constitution in a one-turn mile optional-claimer on November 28 at the Big A.
Last out, racing on three weeks’ rest, Empty Tomb set a pressured pace in the Queens County, besting Backsideofthemoon by a head for place.
“He ran extremely hard,” Falcone, Jr. said. “It’s rewarding because he ran a great race to finish second and whenever they run good it’s always fun.
“Props to the winner, Forewarned, but we had a couple challengers throughout the whole race and on top of having to turn them away, he had that one come on late,” Falcone, Jr. added. “He ran as hard as he could. It was a great race but he did a lot of the dirty work and for him to keep running on and get beat was tough. He ran his heart out.”
Empty Tomb will emerge from post 4 under Eric Cancel.
Don Alberto Stable, WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ First Constitution enters in search of his first U.S. win.
The 5-year-old Constitution chestnut, who captured the Group 1 Gran Criterium Mauricio Serrano Palma in his native Chile in October 2020, was transferred to the care of Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher last year for a four-race campaign.
First Constitution garnered a career-best 98 Beyer with a runner-up effort to stakes-placed Speaker’s Corner in October at Belmont traveling 1 1/16-miles ahead of his runner-up effort in November to Empty Tomb.
Pletcher’s New York-based assistant Byron Hughes said First Constitution should appreciate the nine-furlongs.
“It doesn’t seem like he has distance limitations by watching him train in the morning. His gallop outs are strong. He’s a big scopey horse as well, so it should be something he should handle,” Hughes said. “He’s definitely run against some quality older horses in his past couple races. We haven’t missed any training with him. He’s coming into this spot nicely, so all we’re hoping for now is that he runs to his training.”
Jose Lezcano will guide First Constitution from post 2.
Rounding out the field are Splicethemainbrace [post 3, Abner Adorno] and Twelve Volt Man [post 6, Edwin Gonzalez].
Joseph Bucci’s stakes winner Shesawildjoker brings a consistent ledger to her seasonal debut in Saturday’s eighth running of the $100,000 Franklin Square for New York-bred sophomore fillies going 6 1/2-furlongs at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The Franklin Square, which was originally slated for January 15, was rescheduled after the card was cancelled due to extreme cold.
All of the original nine-horse field have returned, while Captainsdaughter, runner-up last out in the seven-furlong Parx Juvenile on December 29, has joined the fray.
In the money in 4-of-5 lifetime starts with field best earnings of $102,750, Shesawildjoker enters from a third-place finish in the six-furlong Key Cents on November 21 at the Big A, where she rounded out the trifecta at 38-1 odds behind unbeaten Classy Edition.
“She gave a good account of herself last time and I think she does the same here,” trainer David Donk said. “It’s probably a pretty wide open affair, but it’s a good spot for us.”
Shesawildjoker, a Practical Joke chestnut, defeated subsequent stakes-winner November Rein in her June 18 debut at Belmont Park before a distant eighth in the Grade 2 Adirondack two months later at Saratoga Race Course.
She returned to action over a muddy Belmont main track when third in the seven-furlong Joseph A. Gimma in September before becoming a stakes-winner in the six-furlong Shesastonecoldfox on October 25 over sloppy and sealed going at Finger Lakes.
Shesawildjoker has rated off the pace in her last two starts, which Donk said he would like to see more of moving forward.
“She ran well at Finger Lakes. She rated a bit for the first time so that’s what we’re trying to do with her,” Donk said. “If there’s some pace in the race, I’d like to get her to settle a bit. If she’s in a spot where she’s lone speed then great – but if not, she needs to learn how to rate.”
Bred by Three Diamonds Farm, Shesawildjoker is out of the two-time winning Speightstown mare Tarquinia. She was bought for $80,000 out of the Bluewater Sales consignment at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Jorge Vargas, Jr. has the call in pursuit of his second Franklin Square win from post 9.
Captainsdaughter, a dark bay daughter of Midshipman, graduated at sixth asking in October over Big Sandy in a state-bred maiden special weight for trainer Russell Cash.
Owned by Joseph Birnbaum, Captainsdaughter followed with second-place finishes in a pair of state-bred stakes, including the one-mile Maid of the Mist on October 30 at Belmont over a sloppy and sealed main track; and the six-furlong Key Cents over fast going on November 21 at the Big A.
Edwin Gonzalez has the call from post 10.
The returning field includes, Sandy’s Garden [post 1, Jose Ortiz], Sterling Silver [post 2, Trevor McCarthy], Thinking It Over [post 3, Dylan Davis], Thin Legs [post 4, Andre Worrie], Flip My Id [post 5, Manny Franco], Leeloo [post 6, Kendrick Carmouche], Moam [post 7, Jose Lezcano], and Meraviglioso [post 8, Eric Cancel].
The Jazil is slated as Race 7, while the Franklin Square is set for Race 8 on Saturday’s nine-race card. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the winter meet at Aqueduct Racetrack on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Aqueduct Press Release
Photo: Forewarned (NYRA Photo)