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Aqueduct Preview | Franklin Square Stakes 2024
Cara's Time (NYRA)

Aqueduct Preview | Franklin Square Stakes 2024

Richie Rich Racing Stable’s Sweet Brown Sugar will look to double up on stakes scores in Sunday’s $100,000 Franklin Square, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for New York-bred sophomore fillies, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The Franklin Square is slated as Race 8 on Sunday’s nine-race card. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.

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Trained by Paul Barrow, the Collected bay sports a perfect 2-for-2 ledger, winning both starts in gate-to-wire fashion under Jeremias Flores at Finger Lakes topped by a last-out score on November 6 in the six-furlong Shesastonecoldfox. The 5 1/2-length romp over the fast main track in her stakes debut was preceded by a similar 6 3/4-length score over good footing traveling 5 1/2-furlongs on October 18.

“She learned a lot from both races. I think the experience was good for her,” Barrow said. “Jeremias Flores did a good job not trying to rush her, but making sure she finished down the lane and galloped out good in those races. We were confident in her and thought she would be very tough to beat.”

Sweet Brown Sugar has breezed back three times over the Belmont Park dirt training track, including a five-eighths breeze in 1:02 flat on New Year’s Eve.

“She breezed well and is doing well. So, we’ll try and test her a little bit there and see how she does,” Barrow said. “She’s been a nice filly and easy to train. She’s kind of untested at Finger Lakes. She won a couple races pretty easily there. We’ll step her up a notch and see how she does in tougher competition.”

The talented bay, bred by Chester and Mary Broman, was purchased for $32,000 at the OBS June 2-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age Sale and is out of the winning Bodemeister mare Rachel’s Blue Moon. Her second dam is the graded stakes-placed Beautiful But Blue and her third dam is multiple stakes-winner Beautiful America.

“Nick Hines picked this filly out for the owner. He liked her pedigree and liked her physical. He did a great job and I think he has a great eye for a horse,” Barrow said. “She’s very well built – straight legged. She’s not real tall, but she’s not small either. She’s built sprinter type, thick and strong. She’s very athletically built.”

Barrow, a multiple stakes winner at Finger Lakes where he topped the trainer standings with 61 wins in 2023, will be looking for his first stakes score on the NYRA circuit. He currently has 12 horses stabled at Belmont Park and won the Saturday nightcap here with Can’t Beat Me.

“We’ve been trying to break into the NYRA scene a little bit, so it would be a big push for the barn if she had any success at all,” Barrow said. “It’s my first horse for the owner so we’re enjoying the ride right now.”

Barrow said the slight increase in distance should suit Sweet Brown Sugar.

“You never know when you step up into better competition how they’ll handle the added distance, but from what I’ve seen from her in her workouts and in her races the added distance will be a benefit,” Barrow said.

Jorge A. Vargas, Jr. has the call from the inside post.

Richard Greeley’s stakes-winner Cara’s Time [post 4, Dylan Davis] will be a significant pace factor for trainer Mitchell Friedman.

The Not This Time gray sports a ledger of 5-2-2-0 topped by a gate-to-wire 22-1 upset score in the seven-furlong Joseph A. Gimma on September 24 here at Aqueduct with returning rider Dylan Davis in the irons. There, she zipped through splits of 22.87 seconds, 46.23 and 1:10.53 over the sloppy and sealed footing en route to a 1 1/2-length score over stakes winner Caldwell Luvs Gold in a final time of 1:23.28.

Cara’s Time followed with a pair of frontrunning runner-up efforts in stakes company here at Aqueduct, completing the exacta behind returning rival My Mane Squeeze in the one-mile Maid of the Mist on October 29 and a narrow neck defeat to returning rival Tricky Temper in the six-furlong Key Cents last out on November 18.

She has breezed back five times over the Belmont dirt training track, including a half-mile in 49.66 Saturday.

“She’s been here all winter long. She hasn’t missed a day of training,” Friedman said. “She puts a good work in every time.”

Friedman said he is hopeful Cara’s Time can put her abundant speed to good use.

“We’re going. That’s her thing. We’re going to go to the lead – come and catch me,” Friedman said.

Cara’s Time, a $175,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Preferred New York-bred Sale, is out of the Macho Uno mare Zindra, who is a half-sister to multiple stakes-placed Bahia Beach. She was bred in the Empire State by Stephen Crestani, Jr.

Mark Stanley’s Tricky Temper [post 3, Manny Franco] has competed exclusively in stakes company since her off-the-turf state-bred debut maiden win on August 9 at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Jeremiah Englehart, the Into Mischief bay was fourth in the six-furlong Seeking the Ante against fellow state-breds on August 27 at the Spa, before stepping into open company at Belmont at the Big A to finish second in the six-furlong off-the-turf Matron on October 8 and a distant ninth in the 1 1/16-mile Chelsey Flower over firm turf 19 days later.

She returned to dirt and state-bred company last out in the Key Cents, tracking the early foot of Cara’s Time from second position before being roused by Irad Ortiz, Jr. in upper stretch to prevail in the final jumps.

Tricky Temper, bred by Sequel Thoroughbreds and Lakland Farm, was purchased for $230,000 at the OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training. She is out of the multiple stakes-winning Any Given Saturday mare Winter Book, who is a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Motor City.

Englehart will also saddle the multiple stakes-placed homebred Unicorn Cake [post 8, Kendrick Carmouche] for Flower City Racing, Christopher Meyer and Rich Spiesman.

The Cloud Computing bay, who graduated on debut in September at the Spa, was third in both the Lady Finger in September at Finger Lakes and the Key Cents. She is out of the stakes-winning Desert Party mare Party Like Grandma, who was a frontrunning winner of the Spa’s 2018 Seeking the Ante for these connections.

William J. Butler’s homebred My Mane Squeeze [post 6, Jose Lezcano] was last seen besting Cara’s Time in the one-turn mile Maid of the Mist on October 29 here for trainer Mike Maker.

The Audible dark bay graduated at second asking sprinting six furlongs on September 1 at Saratoga Race Course, drawing clear to a 4 1/2-length score over next-out winner and eventual Grade 2-placed Dolomite.

My Mane Squeeze was a distant third in the Joseph A. Gimma ahead of her three-length score in the Maid of the Mist.

Out of the winning Speightstown mare In Spite of Mama, My Main Squeeze is a half-sister to the Maker-trained Rotknee, a graded stakes-placed homebred for Butler.

Bregman Family Racing, Jackpot Farm and Swinbank Stables’ Soloshot [post 2, Eric Cancel] will look to return to winning form for trainer George Weaver.

The Solomini chestnut, who has competed exclusively against fellow state-breds, won her first two starts sprinting 5 1/2-furlongs. She graduated by 7 3/4-lengths in August in an off-the-turf sprint at the Spa ahead of a similar gate-to-wire effort in the Lady Finger over a good main track at Finger Lakes.

Soloshot, a $290,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale purchase, was a distant fifth in the Key Cents and was last seen finishing a pacesetting eighth in the seven-furlong $500,000 NYSSS Fifth Avenue on December 16 here.

Bred by Rhapsody Farm, Soloshot is out of the multiple stakes-placed Twirling Candy mare Sweet Queen, who is a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Queen Ofthe Catsle.

Two-time winner Bernietakescharge [post 7, Trevor McCarthy] enters from a three-quarter-length state-bred optional-claiming score traveling six furlongs here on December 14.

Trained by Domenick Schettino, the Robert D. Rosenthal and Bradford H. Bernstein homebred is out of the stakes-winning Freud mare Berning Rose.

Rounding out the field is Knollwood Stables’ debut maiden winner Flight Control [post 5, Eliseo Ruiz] for conditioner Robert Klesaris. Bred by Kenny Toye, the Air Force Blue bay was purchased for $50,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale.