Manny Franco. (NYRA/Coglianese)
NYRA Press Office/Updated 1/8/2023
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Jockey Manny Franco equaled a New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) record, winning aboard 6-of-7 mounts on Friday’s nine-race card at Aqueduct Racetrack.
“Unbelievable day. I’m just grateful to have a day like this. We started the year off on the right foot and hopefully we can just keep going,” Franco said. “I didn’t have all favorites, but every day I come in feeling positive and I just want to do well. Today, I really felt like I could have a big day and I was excited about it. The horses were running for me today.”
Franco joins a select group of riders to have posted a six-win day at the Big A, including Hall of Famers Ron Turcotte, Angel Cordero, Jr., Steve Cauthen, Mike Smith and Javier Castellano. Jockey Dylan Davis, NYRA’s overall leading rider last year, accomplished the feat in February 2018.
“I’m so proud to be on that list,” Franco said. “When I graduated from school, I wanted to do something so everyone can remember who I was when I was riding. It’s a dream come true.”
Franco, 28, kicked off the day in Race 1 with an impressive maiden score by the Chad Brown-trained Uncorrelated [No. 1, $6.10*] in the day’s opening race, a six-furlong maiden special weight over the main track for sophomores.
The Carolina, Puerto Rico native swept Races 4-6, beginning with Quick Chaos [No. 7, $12.20] for conditioner Jorge Abreu in a one-turn mile maiden special weight for 3-year-old New York-breds.
He followed by guiding Vallarand [No. 4, $4.70*] to a 3 1/4-length score in a $25,000 claimer for conditioner Rob Atras and completed the mid-card Pick 3 with Baron’s Legacy [No. 6, $18.80], who captured a $40,000 state-bred maiden claiming event going 6 1/2 furlongs for trainer Horacio De Paz.
Franco earned his fifth win of the day when piloting the Christophe Clement-trained filly Kant Hurry Love [No. 3, $6.60] to a triumph against New York-bred winners in Race 8, before securing the late double in a one-mile optional-claimer aboard Bourbon Calling [No. 10, $13.40] in Race 9 for trainer Antonio Arriaga.
“This horse was outside the whole way, and he took me the whole way around and he got the job done,” Franco said of the record-equaling score.
Live racing resumes Saturday at Aqueduct with a 10-race card, including the $150,000 Jerome in Race 8, which offers 10-4-3-2-1 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-five finishers, and the re-scheduled $150,000 Queens County in Race 9. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern.