Manny Franco. (Walter Wlodarczyk)
NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Manny Franco extended his lead atop the jockey standings by notching five wins from seven mounts on Friday’s eight-race card at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Franco, who equaled a NYRA record by winning with 6-of-7 mounts on January 6 here, leads all riders at the Aqueduct winter meet with 56 wins.
“It means a lot to me. Every win here is special. It’s hard to get a win, especially here in New York,” Franco said. “I’m just happy to be here in New York and riding the horses I’ve been riding. My agent [John Panagot] has been doing a great job. This is home to me. I really appreciate the support of all the trainers and thank them for their support all year long.”
Franco, a 28-year-old native of Carolina, Puerto Rico, swept the first four races on Friday’s card, taking the opener – a nine-furlong maiden for 3-year-olds and up – with the Chad Brown-trained Systemic Change [No. 3, $2.80*] in a tight finish with stablemate Kaon. Franco followed by winning Race 2 with the Rob Atras-conditioned Central Pride [No. 2, $6.20] in a 6 1/2-furlong state-bred maiden claiming sprint for 3-year-olds and up; and concluded the early Pick 3 by guiding Wild Banker [No. 7, $5.40*] to victory for trainer Rudy Rodriguez in a nine-furlong claimer for older horses.
Franco continued his streak in Race 4 by guiding 3-5 favorite Improper [No. 1, $3.40*] to victory for trainer John Terranova in a six-furlong maiden claimer for 3-year-olds and up. After finishing second in Race 5 aboard Built to Last, Franco returned to winning ways in Race 6 by combining once more with Atras to capture a six-furlong claiming sprint for older fillies and mares with Dame Cinco [No. 5, $4.10*], prevailing in a photo finish over Alpine Queen.
Among Franco’s 56 winners at the current meet are stakes scores in the Grade 3 Withers [Hit Show], Queens County [Law Professor], Haynesfield [Dr Ardito] and Gander [Neural Network]. He will look to add to those totals this weekend when he rides Rossa Veloce in Saturday’s $100,000 Correction and Know It All Audrey in the $100,000 Biogio’s Rose on Sunday.
Live racing resumes Saturday at the Big A with a 10-race card, with the six-furlong Correction slated for Race 9. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern.