A ‘Hero’ returns in Aqueduct Franklin Square
By Bob Ehalt
February is often a month when promising 2-year-olds return from a hiatus and handicappers find out if those horses made a smooth transition to life as a 3-year-old.
That’s the basic theme for Saturday’s $100,000 Franklin Square Stakes at Aqueduct.
The 8-5 favorite in the six-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies foaled in New York State is Forgotten Hero, who is a perfect 2-for-2 in her career. Both of those wins came last year at Aqueduct, highlighted by a win in a New York Stallion Series Stakes in her 2-year-old finale.
Trained and co-owned by John Toscano Jr., the speedy Forgotten Hero has been training steadily for her 3-year-old debut and should be well-positioned on or just off the lead in her comeback start.
“She’s training really well. Every time I’ve worked her, she’s been black-type (caliber). She has a lot of talent. She’s maturing, and as she does, we’re just hoping she gets better and better,” Toscano said.
Stonesintheroad, the 2-1 second choice, is also undefeated after two starts. Following a four-length win in her debut on Dec. 30, she posted a decisive 6 ¼-length in a state-bred allowance race on Feb. 3, and should be a main rival for the favorite on the front end.
Also among the field of six is Flush (3-1), who was a 7 ½-length victor of a Jan. 11 maiden race at Aqueduct for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
Maiden Beauty (5-1) comes into the Franklin Square off a runner-up finish in a Jan. 26 allowance race, which marked the first time in seven career starts that she did not race in a stakes. Strangely, she has not won since capturing the Lynbrook Stakes in her career debut on July 15, though that race was contested on a sloppy track.
“She’s training great and I’m so pleased with her heading into this race. She’s probably better at a mile, but there’s really not a mile race coming up on the horizon for her, so I figured I’d take a shot. She’s good enough to get a piece and maybe the whole thing. She’s training really well,” trainer Gary Contessa said. “I started training her with an eye towards cutting back to a sprint. Hopefully, when there’s more horses (in the field) and the racing gets a little more definitive, I think I’ll probably keep her long. To me, she appears to be a little better going long.”
The rest of the field includes Wadadli Princess (10-1) and Quietude (15-1)