There are only six 3-year-old fillies entered in the $100,000 Franklin Square Stakes on Saturday at Aqueduct, but the six-furlong race for statebreds offers a fine matchup. Stonesintheroad, Forgotten Hero, and Flush are quick off the blocks, have won five of their six combined starts, and are not easy to separate.
Stonesintheroad is 2 for 2 for trainer Jeremiah Englehart, having won a maiden race and an optional claimer by open lengths. Forgotten Hero, also unbeaten, is coming off a one-length victory in the Fifth Avenue division of the New York Stallion Stakes for John Toscano Jr.
Flush finished fifth in her debut but came back to win a maiden race by 7 1/2 lengths for Kiaran McLaughlin. The 82 Beyer Speed Figure she earned is the highest in this field by seven points. Stonesintheroad’s four-length maiden win has turned out to be a productive race. Not only did she come back to win, but so did the third- and fourth-place finishers. The second- and fifth-place runners were second in their next starts. A Bustin Stones filly owned and bred by the Team Penney Racing of Shirl Penney, Stonesintheroad was more explosive the second time out, showing improved early speed and a sharper finish while winning by 6 1/4 lengths. Englehart and Team Penney Racing are 9 for 15 together.
Englehart takes responsibility for Stonesintheroad not being ready for her best effort the first time out.
“The first time, I didn’t run her the way I wanted,” he said. “I had planned on a different race, but this one was right there, and she was doing so good. I thought maybe in the winter I could get away with not sending her into the race perfectly. I entered her the same day I worked her.
“She showed me a lot more in her second start.”
Stonesintheroad came from just off the pace in her debut. She led throughout in her next race. Rajiv Maragh, who was aboard for both, also has been the rider of Flush but sticks with Stonesintheroad on Saturday.
“She’s the type of filly, it really doesn’t matter to me whether she goes to the front or sits off it,” Englehart said. “She can do it either way. Rajiv has a lot of confidence in her. I’ll just leave it to him.”
Forgotten Hero not only has speed, but she ran the turn very well under Mike Luzzi in the six-furlong Fifth Avenue, opening up on three-time stakes winner Sassy Agnes. The Franklin Square will be her first start in 10 weeks.
Flush ran even fractions of 48.05 seconds and 1:00.12 en route to a final time of 1:12.64 in her maiden win. A race with the same conditions an hour later had a slightly faster half-mile (47.85) but a much slower final clocking (1:14.34).
She will face faster early splits Saturday while facing much tougher rivals. Junior Alvarado picks up the mount.
The field also includes Maiden Beauty, Quietude, and Wadadli Princess.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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